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1653 Eost Main Strwt 

fIoch««l«f. N«« Yort. 14609 USA 

(716) 482 - 0300 - PKon« 

{7'6) 288-5989 -Fox 


\»wA 'lvV*-iT^ Mi 

David Graham Phillipt 






f 53 5- 3 I 




Hbket Gowkk was dead at sixty-one — the end of 
a lifelong fraud which never had been suspected, and 
never would be. With the world, with his acquaint- 
ances and neighbors, with his wife and son and 
daughter, he passed as a generous, warm-hearted, 
good-natured man, ready at all times to do anything 
to help anybody, incapable of envy or hatred or mean- 
ness. In fact, not once in all his days had he ever 
thought or done a single thing except for his own 
comfort Like all intensely selfish people who are wise, 
he was cheerful and amiable, because that was the 
way to be healthy and happy and to have those around 
one agneable and in the mood to do what one wished 
them to do. He told people, not the truth, not the 
unpleasant thing that might help them, but what they 
wished to hear. His family Uved in luxurious comfort 
only because he himself was fond of luxurious comfort. 
His wife and his daughter dressed fashionably and. 
went about and enterUined in the fashionable, ex- 
pensive way only because that was the sort of life 
that gratified his vanity. He lived to get wliat he 
wanted; he got it every day and every hour of a life 


into which no rain ever feU; he died, honored, respected, 
beloved, and lamented. 

The clever trick he had played upon his fellow be- 
ings came very near to discovery a few days after 
his death. His widow and her son and daughter-in-law 
and daughter were in the Uving-room of the charming 
house at Hanging Rock, near New York, alternating 
between sorrowings over the dead man and plannings 
for the future. Said the widow: 

" If Henry had only thought what would become of 
us if he were taken away ! " 

" If he had saved even a small part of what he made 
every year from the time he was twenty-six — for he 
always made a big income," said his son, Frank. 

"But he was so generous, so soft-hearted!" ex- 
claimed the widow. « He could deny us nothing " 

" He couldn't bear seeing us with the slightest wish 
ungratifled," said Frank. 

" He was the best father that ever lived! " cried the 
daughter, Mildred. 

And Mrs. Gower the elder and Mrs. Gower the 
younger wept; and Mildred turned away to hide the 
emotion distorting her face; and Frank stared gloomily 
at the carpet and sighed. The hideous secret of the 
life of duplicity was safe, safe forever. 

In fact, Henry Gower had often thought of the fate 
of his family if he should die. In the first year of 
his married life, at a time when passion for a beautiful 
bride was almost sweeping him into generous thought, 
hr had listened for upward of an hour to the eloquence 
of a life insurance agent. Then the agent, misled by 
<- S 


Gower's effusively generous and unselfish expressions, 
had taken a false tack. He had descanted upon the 
supreme satisfaction that would be felt by a dying man 
as he reflected how his young widow would be left in 
affluence. He made a vivid picture; Gower saw — 
saw his bride happier after his death than she had been 
during his life, and attracting a swarm of admirers 
by her beauty, well set off in becoming black, and by 
her independent income. The generous impulse then 
and there shriveled to its weak and shallow roots. With 
tears in his kind, clear eyes he thanked the agent and 

" You have convinced me. You need say no more. 
I'll send for you in a few days." 

The agent never got into his presence again. 
Gower lived up to his income, secure in the knowledge 
that his ability as a lawyer made him certain of plenty 
of money as long as he should live. But it would show 
an utter lack of comprehension of his peculiar species 
of character to imagine that he let himself into the 
secret of his own icy-heartedi, -as by ceasing to think 
of the problem of his wife and two children without 
him to take care of them. On the contrary, he thought 
of it every day, and planned what he would do about 
It — to-morrow. And for his delay he had excellent 
convincing excuses. Did he not take. care of his 
naturally robust health? Would he not certainly out- 
live his wife, who was always doctoring more or less." 
Frank would be able to take care of himself; anyhow. 
It was not well to bring a boy up to expectations, be- 
cause every man should be self-supporting and self- 


r-W A» for Mildred, why. with her beautv and her 

the hhlkbon, that come from wcial display. ^ 

That one of hi. calculation, which was the mo,i vif.I 
and seemed the surest proved to be To^^r Jt^ 
no the weakhngs who die. after infancy and youth 
but the strong, healthy men and women The wel 
lings have to look out for themselves. reoeivT ami 
warmng in the disastrous obvious effect^ TZ sZ 

could not resist a bot^of^t f:rdi^eri:r„ii;^ 
-n -d^iTfrSfornr Tt^rt- 
.irh;""fSi,«'S;:f -^s::-' — - 

tWrettiest ,rl in Han^ng^i:! anThaT^I^tir 

factory law practice in New York m;. • 

about fifteen thousand a yea! B;thi.'t^.rhTtasTe: 

as extravagant as his own; and Han«n» H„.l • 

of those suburbs of New York wh^re^Lr :ellll 

middle-class people to live luxuriouslfand to d hde 

fLt- M '"' ^"""''*' '^^ *"= -«- ttat they are 
f«h.onable. rich New Yorkers who prefer to wT 



the country "like the English." Thus, Henry 
Gowei's widow and daughter could count on little help 
from Frank — and they knew it. 

" You and MiUy wiU have to move to some less ex- 
pensive place than Hanging Rock," said Frank — it 
was the living-room conference a few days after the 

Mfldred flushed and her eyes flashed. She opened 
her lips to speak — closed them again with the angry 
retort unuttered. After all, Frank was her mother's 
and her sole dependence. They could hope for little 
, from him, but nothing must be said that would give 
him and his mean, selfish wife a chance to break with 
them and refuse to do anything whatever. 

"And Mildred must get married," said Natalie. 
In Hanging Rock most of the girls and many of the 
boys had given names taken from Burke's Peerage, the 
Ahnanac de Gotha, and fashionable novels. 

Again Mildred flushed; but her eyes did not flash, 
neither did she open her lips to speak. The little re- 
mark of her siater-in-law, apparently so harmless and 
sensible, was in fact a poisoned arrow. For Mildred 
■ as twenty-three, had been « out" five years, and was " 
not even in the way to become engaged. She and every- 
one had assumed from her lovely babyhood that she 
would marry splendidly, would marry wealth and social 
position. How could it be otherwise? Had she not 
beauty? Had she not family and position? Had she 
not style and cleverness? Yet — five years out and 
not a « serious " proposal. An impudent poor fellow 
with no prospects had asked her. An impudent rich 


; m.„ from fashionable New York had hung after her 
-and had presently abandoned whatever Irk pro] 

L-. own^eT «"".^" r"''""^ •""» »"«» ">-Sl 
«ved m' 'n " ^'''^ ''r^" '^''' *•>* ™-"'''le snobs." 
ZZ^ i ' "^^ ^"^ ''*'° ''""dinjr high upon 

SrrideT' 2Tf °' """''^' «--. -"^ -W 
Biie rides. Mildred, however, had accented tl,» A^f 

rtoT 1^' °-P''^-"^- SHe hadTfeno'^h't: 


.s wealth and stationP Perhaps not/ Wh 'can 
2? At any rate, may we not claim credit for our 
good intentions - so long as, even through lack of od 
portunity, we have not stultified them? ^' 

fai^^trdrT' k'T****' "PP'"""^' '^■>«^-'''» 
own fault. Other girls. less endowed than she, were 
Marrying, were marrying fairly well Wl,„ T 
Mildred lagging in the market? ^'' *'"' "" 

cid^t-r '7. 'r\°*'" """■"• ""»- °f - 

Wec^SLrtlirVrr' """'*' 
not accidental, Hanging Roc^ JtrplTcI Ir '3 
so superior as was Mildred Gower to Bnd I L^ 

'^usband. As has been hinted. Hang.-;; rk^waTZ 


of those upper-middle-class colonies where splurge and 
social .mbition dominate the community life. In such 
colonies the young men are of two classes — those be- 
neath such a girl as Mildred, and those who had the 
looks, the manners, the inteUigence, and the prospects 
10 justify them in looking higher socially — in looking 
among the rery rich and really fashionable. In the 
Hanging Rock sort of community, having all the snob- 
bishness of Fifth Avenue, Back Bay, and Rittenhouse 
Square, with the added torment of the snobbishness 
bemg perpetually ungratified — in such communities, 
beneath a surface reeking culture and idealistic folderol, 
there is a coarse and brutal materialism, a passion for 
money, for luxury, for display, that equals aristocratic 
societies at their worst. No one can live- for a winter, 
much less grow up, in such a place without becoming 
saturated with sycophantry. Thus, only by some im- 
possible combination of chances could there have been 
at Hanging Rock a young man who would have ap- 
preciated Mildred and have had the courage of 
his appreciation. This combination did not happen. 
In Mildred's generation and set there were only the 
two classes of men noted above. The men of the one 
of them -which could not have attracted her accepted 
their fate of mating with second-choice females to whom 
they were themselves second choice. The men of the 
other class rarely appeared at Hanging Rock func- 
tions, hung about the rich people in New York, Newport, 
and on Long Island, and would as soon have thought 
of taking a Hanging Rock society giri to wife as of 
exchanging hundred-dollar bills for twenty-five-cent 


pieces. Having attraction* acceptabk in tha bert 
market., they took them there. Ijtuiging Rock de- 
nounced them a. .nob., for Hanging Rock wa. yirtu- eloquent on the .ubjeot of .nobbidm«M — we 
human creature, being nerer m effective aa when aa- 
»«hng in other, the vice or weakne.. we know from 
lifelong, intimate, internal a..ociaUon with it But 
.ecretlj the .ucce..fulljr ambitioua .pumen of that 
Kiburban .ociety were approved, wei* envied. And 
Hanging Rock wa. mo.t graciou. to them whenever 
It got the chance. 

In her five year, of social life Mildred had gone 
only with the variou. cla..e. of faahionable people, 
had therefore known only the men who are fuD of the 
pouon of snobbishne... She had been bom and bred 
in an environment a. impregnated with that poi.on 
a. tha air of a kitchen-garden with onion.. She knew 
nothing else. The secret intention to refu« Stanley 
Baird, should he propow, wa. therefore the more 
Mtonishing — and the more .ignificant. From Ume to 
time m any given environment you will flnd iMne iM. 
tated person, some personality, with a tnut whdly 
foreign and out of place there. Now it is a wft voice 
and courteous manners in a slum; again it i. a longing 
f-.- a hfe of freedom and equality in a member of a 
royal family that ha. known nbthing but rordid slavery 
for centuries. Or, in the petty conventionality of a 
prosperous middle- or upper-class community you 
come upon one who dreams - perhaps vaguely but 
rtiU longingly -oran existence where love and ideas 
shall elevate and glorify life. In spite of her training, 



M teaching Mid example of all about her 
from the moment of her opening her eyei upon the 
worid, Mildred Gower at twenty-three (till leUined 
■onething of theie dream flowers lown in the «oiI of 
her naturally good mind by lome book or play or per- 
hape by tone eaiually read and loon forgotten article 
in magasine or newspaper. We have the habit of 
thinking only weed* produce seeds that penetrate and 
prosper everywhere and anywhere. The truth is that 
fine planU of all kinds, vegetable, fruit, and flower of 
rarest color and perfume, have this same hardiness and 
fecundity. Pull away at the weeds in your garden 
for a while, and see if this is not so. Though you may 
plant nothing, you will be amaxed at the resultsif you 
but clear a little space of its weeds — which you have 
been planting and cultivating. 

Mildred — woman fashion — regarded it as a re- 
proach upon her that she had not yet succeeded in mail- 
ing the marriage everyone, including herself, predicted 
for her aad expected of her. On the contrary, it was 
the most lavage indictment possible of the marriage- 
able and marrying men who had met her — of their 
stupidity, of their short-sighted and mean-souled cal- 
culation, of their lack of courage — the courage to 
take what they, as men of flesh and blood wanted, in- 
stead of what their snobbishness ordered. And if 
Stanley Baird, the nearest to a flesh-and-blood man of 
any who had known her, had not been so profoundly 
afraid of his fashionable mother and of his sister, the 
Countess of Waring— But he was profoundly afraid 
of them; so, it is idle to speculate about him. 


Oower? U.u.Uy, when ™.„ look «t . womn, the, 

tZl I' .•'*•' ^'•'*"' °" »»P'«"«>t. ^M of 
IZ ♦.' r"'°'- Th.t.«.d nothing mo«. After- 
ward, through wme whim or «,n.. thnut from ch«ce 
they may .w m her, or f «,cy they we in her, the thing 
femimne that their .ouU_it i, alway. ".oul»-mo.t 

conventionally colo,«l i, (he u.ual human being, the 
.ve«g. wjmian-indeed every woman but .he who i. 
exceptional -create, upon man the mere impre..ion of 
plea.ant or unple«ant petticoat.. In the exceptional 
woman .omethmg obtrude.. She ha. a.toni.hing hair, 
or extraordinary eye., or a mouth that wem. to draw a 
man hke a magnet; or it u the allui, of a pecuUar 
.mile or of a figure who.e .inuo.itie. a. .he move, 
<^ra to cau.e a corre.ponding wave^rturbance in 
ma.cuhne nerve,. Further, the po..eMion of one of 
the.e ..gnal charm, u.ually cau.e. all her charm, to 
have more than ordinary potency. The .ight of the 
man 1. .o bewitched by the one potent cham that he 
sees the whole woman under a .pell. 

Mildred Gower, of the medium height and of a 
.knder and well-formed figure, had a face of the kind 
that ^. called lovely; and her .mile, .weet, dTe«ny. 
revealing white and even teeth, gave her loveline., deli- 
cate a„,„ation. She had an abundance of hair, neither 
light nor dark; .he had a fine clear .kin. Her eyes 
gray and rather reriou. and well .et under long .traight 

BuTIl^T ^'\^ '°°'' "^ ''""^'^y '""' intelligence. 

But the charm that won men, her charm of charms. 



WM her mouth — mobile, ilightly pouted, not too fur- 
row, of • wonderful, vividly healthy and vital red. She 
had beauty, ih« had intelligence. But it wa< impoi- 
■ible for a man to think of either, once hit glance had 
been caught by those exprettive, inviting Ipi of hen, 
•o young, to freth, with their ever-changing, ever- 
fatcinating line ezpretiing in a thousand wayt the 
paiiion and poetry of the kiti. 

Of all the men who had admired her and had edged 
away because they feared the would bewitch them into 
forgetting what the world calls " good common sense " 
— of all those men only one Lad'suspected the real rea- 
son for her physical power over men. All but Stanley 
Baird had thought themtelvet attracted because she 
was so pretty or so stylish or so clever and amusing to 
talk with. Baird had lived intelligently enough to 
learn that feminine charm it never general, it alwayt 
specific. He knew it was Mildred Gower's lips that 
haunted, that frij^tened ambitious men away, that 
sent men who knew they hadn't a ghost of a chance 
with her discontentedly back to the second-choice 
women who alone were available for them. Fortu- 
nately for Mildred, Stanley Baird, too wise to flatter 
a woman discriminatingly, did not tell her the secret 
of her fascination. If he had told her, she would no 
doubt have tried to train and to use it — and so would 
inevitably have lost it 

To jp) on with that important conference in the tit- 
ting-room in the handsome, roqmy house of the Gowers 
at Hanging Rock, Frank Gower eagerly seized upon his 
wife's subtly nasty remark. "I don't tee why in 


And .til b,j,^, „,,., ^^^ 

poor V:^^ -^/^ "• "«• <-»« ♦• »>• -^cheSJ 
poor. And poTMtjr i, « repokiye." ' 

«*• th.t I „„rt „.„y right .w.y wiU mdceit ewier 
for n,. to marry? Everyone who know. u. knowrZ 

tl,l5,,J^ "'"'"« ^^-^-Sh H'»«Png Rock 

And, Mildred went on, " everyone >. „tW that I 

rLT-i^Tz-.T."^' nothin^rr. 

t«»t .„^ tT^ •""•''^- "When I go into the 
nreet ..gam I ,hUi „, nothing but flyinff men And 

■nd • witne.. with him." * «>«peron 

^^ow c.n you be «, frivolou.? » reproached her 

moIJ^hoT/r" *".'*"* ""^-derrtood by her 
mother, who had long .ince been made hopele„Iy dull 

had been bom with ordinary feet, neither uglyTor 
pretty and entirely fit for the u«, for which n,tuL 

te md.e them look .mailer and .limmer than they we« 
In .teady weather Ae wa, plaintive, in changSi 
weather .he vmed between irritable «.d violent 


8dd Mild«d to h«r Iwothw: "How much_i«,« 
BOW much M then? » ' 

"I cw-t My t:uaXjr rtpli.d h.r brother, who UA 

how much of th. ..Uf h. ought to dlow hi. mother 

•nd «rt«r Md how much he ought to ckim for him^lf 

^i ' "' *^* «« cl^ could not be di.- 

Mildred looked fixedly .t him. He .howed hi. un«ui- 

Vl^ K^i'!l!«"'"* '.'"^' •*"* ''^ *^ 'Pix-Mce of 
• certwn hard defiance in hi. eye.. Said .he: 

" What i. the very mo.t we can hope for? » 

A .aence. Her mother broke it. "Mildred, how 
cam you talk of thoae thing. — .lw«jy?.. 

"I don't know," „pli,^ Mfldred. "Perhap. be- 
cauM it', got to be done." 

Thi. ^med to them dl-„d to herwll -. l,me 

nr u J" t"* "PP*""* '*«^*" »' heart Her 
father had alway. be«, mo tender-hearted - had never 

Ino^f i? °"'"'^' *' *"*"«'*«*«> W» f'-nily in .peak- 

abropttT "^ ^'*°'"' "'""• '^'"' *^' ''^""' 
"You're lure. Prank, there', no in.urance?» 
"Father alway. .aid that you di.liked the idea" 

rephed her .on, "that you thought i„.urance lookrf 

iike your calculating on hi. death." 

Under her hu.b«nd'. adroit prompting Mr.. Gower 

had discovered such a view of insurance in her brain. 

She now reoaUed it-«ul regretted. But 

.he was sUcnced. She tried to take her mind off the .ub- 


ject of money. But, like Mildred, she could not. The 
thought of imminent poverty was nagging at them like 
toothache. "There'll be enough for a year or bo?" 
she said, timidly interrogative. 

" I hope so," said Frank. 

Mildred was eying him fixedly again. Said she: 
"Have you found anything at all?" 

"He had about eight thousand dollars in bank," 
said Frank. " But most of it wiU go for the pressing 
debts." " 

" But how did he expect to live? " urged Mildred. 
"Yes, there must have been something," said her 

" Of course, there's his share of the unsettled and 
unfinished business of the firm," admitted Frank. 

" How much will that be? " persisted Mildred. 

" I can't tell, offhand," said Frank, with virtuous 
reproach. " My mind's been on — other things." 

Henry Gower's widow was not without her share of 
instinctive shrewdness. Neither had she, unobservant 
though she was, been within sight of her son's 
character for twenty-eij^t years without having 
unconfessed, unformed misgivings concerning it. 
"You mustn't bother about these things now, Frank 
dear," said she. "I'll get my brother to look into 

" That won't be necessary," hastily said Frank. " I 
don't want any rival kwyer peeping into our firm's af- 

" My brother Wharton is the soul of honor," said 
Mrs. Gower, the elder, with dignity. "You are too 


young to take all the responsibility of settling the 
esUte. Yes, I'll send for Wharton to-morrow." 

"It'll look as though you didn't trust me," said 
Frank sourly. 

"We mustn't do anything to start the gossips in 
this town," said his wife, assisting. 

" Then send for him yourself, Frank," said Mildred, 
" and give him charge of the whole matter." 

Frank eyed her furiously. "How ashamed father 
would be ! " exclaimed he. 

But this solemn invoking of the dead man's spirit 
was uneffectual. The specter of poverty was too in- 
sistent, too terrible. Said the widow: 

" I'm sure, in the circumstances, my dear dead hus- 
band would want me to get hei^, from someone older 
and more experienced." 

And Frank, guilty of conscience and an expert in 
the ways of conventional and highly moral rascality, 
ceased to resist. His wife, scenting danger to their 
getting the share that " rightfully belongs to the son, 
especially when he has been the brains of the firm for 
several years," made angry and indiscreet battle for no 
outside interference. Th# longer she Ulked the firmer 
the widow and the daughter became, not only because 
she clarified suspicions that had been too hazy to 
take form, but also because they disliked her intensely. 
The following day Wharton Conover became unoffi- 
cial administrator. He had no difficulty in baffling 
Frank Gower's half-hearted and clumsy efforts to 
hide two large fees due the dead man's estate. He 
discovered clear assets amounting in all to sixty- 


three thoua«nd dollar*, most of it available within a few 

" As you have the good-will of the firm and ai your 
mother and sister have only what can be realized in 
cash," said he to Frank, « no doubt you won't insist 
aa your third." 

"I've got to consider my wife," said Frank. "I 
can't do as I'd like." 

" You are going to insist >■- your third? " said Con- 
over, with an accent that made Frank quiver. 

" I can't do otherwise," said he in a dogged, shamed 

"Um," said Conover. "Then, on behalf of my 
sister and her daughter I'll have to insist on a more 
detailed accounting than you have been willing to give 
— and ^jn the production of that small book bound in 
red leather which disappeared from my brother-in-law's 
desk the afternoon of his death." 

A wave of rage and fear surged up within Frank 
Gower and crashed against the seat of his life. For 
days thereafter he was from time to time seized with 
violent spasms of trembling; years afterward he was 
attributing premature weaknesses of old age to the 
effects of that moment of horror. His uncle's words 
came as a sudden, high shot climax to weeks of ex- 
asperating peeping and prying and questioning, of 
sneer and insinuation. Conover had been only moder- 
ately successful at the law, had lost clients to Frank's 
father, had been beaten when they were on opposite 
sides. He hated the father with the secret, hypocritical 
hatred of the highly moral and religious man. He de- 


•pised the aon. It is not often that a Christian gentle- 
man haa such an opportunity to combine justice and 
revenge, to feed to bursting an ancient grudge, the 
while conadoiM that he is but doing his duty. 

Said Frank, when he was able to speak: " You have 
been listening to the lies of gome treacherous clerk 

" Don'l destroy that little book," proceeded Conover 
tranquilly. « We can prove that you took it." 

Young Gower rose. « I must decline to have any- 
thing further to say to you, sir," said he. "You will 
leave this office, and you will not be admitted here again 
unless you come with proper papers as administrator." 

Conover smiled with cold satisfaction and departed. 
There followed a series of nuarrels — between Frank 
and his sister, between Frank and his mother, between 
Frank's wife and his mother, between Mildred and iir 
mother, between the mother and Conover. Mrs. Gower 
was suspicious of her son; but she knew her brother 
for a pinchpenny, exacting the last drop of what he 
regarded as his own. And she discovered that, if she 
authorized him to act as administrator for her, he could 
— and beyond question would — take a large share of 
the estate. The upshot was that Frank paid over to 
his mother and sister forty-seven thousand dollars, and 
his mother and her brother stopped speaking to each 
other. , 

" I see that you have turned over all your money to 
mother," said Frank to Mildred a few days after the 

" Of course," said Mildred. She was in a mood of 


high scorn for sordidne,a_a mood induced by the 
spectacle of the .hameful manners of Conover, /rank, 
and his wife, ' 

«?°.J? *'°^ *•"*'" "«*?" »"»g«ted Frank. 
^ I think It's decent," said Mildred. 

-Neither Mrs. Gower nor her daughter had ever had 
any experience in the care of money. To both forty- 
seven thousand doUars seemed a fortune - forty-seven 
thousand dollars in cash in the bank, ready to issue 
forth and do their bidding at the mere writing of a 
few figures and a signature on a piece of paper. In 
a sense they knew that for many years the family's 
annual expenses had ranged between forty and fifty 
thousand, but in the sense of actuality they knew 
nothmg about it -a state of afl'airs common enough 
an families where the man is in absolute control and 
spends all he makes. Money always had been forth- 
coming; therefore money always would be forthcom- 

The mourning and the loss of the person who had 
filled and employed their lives caused the widow and 
the daughter to live very quietly during the succeeding 
year. They spent only half of their capital. For 
reasons of selfish and far-sighted prudence which need 
no detaAng Frank moved away to New York within 
SIX months of his father's death and reduced co^nmuni- 
cation between himself and wife and hia mother and 
sister to a frigid and rapidly congealing minimum. 
He calculated that by the time their capital was con- 


sumed they would have left no feeling of claim upon 
him or he feeling of duty toward them. 

It was not until eighteen months after her father's 
death, when the total capital was sunk to less than fif- 
teen thousand dollars, that Mildred awakened to the 
truth of their plight. A few months at most, and 
they would have to give up that beautiful house which 
had been her home all her Kfe. She tried to grasp 
the meaning of the facts as her intelligence presented 
them to her, but she could not. She had no practical 
training whatever. She had been brought up as a rich 
man's child, to be married to a rich man, and never to 
'know anything of the material details of life beyond 
what was necessary in managing servants after the in- 
different fashion of the usual American woman of the 
comfortable classes. She had always had a maid; she 
could not even dress herself properly without the maid's 
assistance. Life without a maid was inconceivable; 
life without servants was impossible. 

She wandered through the house, through the 
grounds. She said to herself again and again: "We 
have got to give up all this, and be miserably poor — 
with not a servant, with less than the tenement people 
have." But the words conveyed no meaning to her. 
She said to herself again and again: "I must rouse 

myself. I must do something. I must — must 

must! " But she did not rouse, because there was noth- 
ing to rouse. So far as practici life was concerned 
she was as devoid of ideas as a new-bom baby. 

There was but the one hope — marriage, a rich mar- 
riage. It is the habit of men who can take care of 


themselve. and of women who are securely weU taken 
care of to tcorn the woman or the helpless-bred n..*n 
who marries for money or eren entertains that idea. 
How httle imagination these scorners have! To marry 
for a mere living, hardly better than one could make 
for oneself, assuredly does show a pitiful lack of self- 
«hance, a melancholy lack of self-respect. But for 
men or women aU their lives used to luxury and with 
no ability whatever at earning money — for such per- 
sons to marry money in order to save themselves from 
the misery and shame that poverty means to them is the 
most natural, the most human action ctmceivable. The 
man or the woman who says he or she would not do it, 
either is a hypocrite or is talking without thinking. 
You may in honesty criticize and condemn a social sys- 
tem that suffers men and women to be so crudely and 
criminally miseducated by being given luxury they did 
not earn. But to condemn the victims of that system 
for acting as its logic compels is sheer folly or sheer 

Would Mildred Gower have married for money? >s 
the weeks fled, as the bank account dwindled, she would 
have grasped eagerly at any rich man who might have 
offered himself — no matter how repellent he might 
have been. She did not want a bare living ; she did not 
want what passes with the mass of middle-class people 
for comfort She wanted what she had — the beautiful 
and spacious house, the cosUy and fashionable clothing, 
the servants, the carriages and motors, the thousand 
and one comforts, luxuries, and vanities to which she 
had always been used. In the brain of a young woman 


of poor or only comfortably off family the thou^U 
that Bcethed in Mildred Gower'i brain would have been 
80 many indicaUons of depravity. In Mildred Gowei»» 
brain they were the natural, the inevitable, thoughts. 
They indicated everything as to her training, nothing 
as to her character. So, when she, thinking only of a 
rich marriage with no matter whom, and contrasting 
herself with the fine women portrayed in the novels and 
plays, condemned herself as shameless- and degraded, 
she did herself grave injustice. 

But no rich man, whether attractive or repulsive, 
offered. Indeed, no man of any kind offered. Instead, 
it was her mother who married. 

A widower named James Presbury, elderly, with an 
income of five to six thousand a year from inherited 
wealth, stumbled into Hanging Rock to live, was im- 
pressed by the style the widow Gower maintained, be- 
lieved the rumor that her husband had left her better 
off than was generally thought, proposed, and was ac- 
cepted. And two years and a month after Henry 
Gower's death his widow became Mrs. James Presbury 
— and ceased to veil from her new husband the truth 
as to her affairs. 

Mildred had thought that, than the family quarrels 
incident to settling her father's estate, human nature 
could no lower descend. She was now to be disillu- 
sioned. When a young man or a young woman blun- 
ders into a poor marriage in trying to make a rich 
one, he or she is usually ivithheld from immediate and 
frank expression by the timidity of youth. Not so 
the eld«Tly man or woman. As we grow older, no mat- 


ter how tiroidljr conventional we are by nature, we be- 
come, through selfiahnei. or through indifference to the 
opinion of others or through impatience of petty re- 
straint, more and more outspoken. Old Presbury dis^ 
covered how he had tricked himself four days after the 
wedding. He and hik bride were at the Waldorf in 
New York, a-honeymooning. 

The bride had never professed to be rich. She had 
simply continued in her lifelong way, had simply acted 
nch. She well knew the gaudy delusions her admirer 
was entertaining, and she saw to it that nothing was 
said or done to disturb him. She inquired into his af- 
fairs, made sure of the substantiality of the compara- 
tively small income he possessed, decided to accept him 
as her best available chance to escape becoming a 
charge upon her anything but eager and generous 
relatives. She awaited the explosion with serenity. 
She cared not a flip for Presbury, who was a soft a -. 
siUy old fool, full of antiquated compliments and so 
drearily the inferior of~^enry Gower, physicaUy and 
mentaUy, that even she could appreciaU the difference, 
the descent. She rather enjoyed the prospect of a 
combat with him, of the end of dissimulating her 
contempt. She had thought out and had put in ar- 
senal ready for use a variety of sneers, jeers, and 
insults that suggestad themselves to her as she 
listened and simpered and responded while he was 

Had the opportunity offered earlier than the JTourth 
day she would have seized it, but not until that fourth 
m<wning was she in just, the right mood. She had 


eaten too much dinner the night before, and had fol- 
lowed it after two hours in a rtuffy theater with an 
indigestible .upper. He liked the bedroom window, 
open at nij^t; ahe liked them cloeed. After .he fell 
into a heavy sleep, he slipped out of bed and opened 
the wmdows wide — to teach her bj the night's happy 
experience that she was entirely mistaken as to the 
harmfulness of fresh winter air. The result was that 
she awakened with a frightful cold and a splitting 
headache. And as the weather was about to change 
»he had shooting pains like toothache through her 
toe. the instant she thrust them into her shoes. 
The elderly groom, believing he had a rich bride, 
was all soUcitude and infuriating attention. She 
waited until he had wrought her to the proper pitch of 
fury. Then she said — in reply to some remark of 

" Yes, I shall rely upon you entirely. I want you 
to take absolute charge of my affairs." 

The tears sprang to his eyes. His Weak old mouth, 
rapidly falling to pieces, twisted and twitched with 
euotion. "I'U try to deserve your confidence, dar- 
ling, ' said he. « I've had large business experience — 
in tile way of inverting carefuHy, I mean. I don't 
think your affairs wiU suffer in my hands." 

"Oh, I'm sure they'll not trouble you," said she in 
a sweet, sure tone as the pains shot through her feet 
and her head. « You'll hardly notice my Uttle mite in 
your property." She pretended to reflect. "Let me 
8ee--aiere's seven thousand left, but of course half 
Pf tiiat it Millie's." 



"It unut be very weU inTeitecl," Mid he. "ThoM 
•even thouMnd ihsrce mmt be of the very beei" 
" Sh>re«? " Mid (he, with • genUe littk l«u»h. " I 

Presbury w«. Jwit to lift « cup of caf4 <w JoM to 
ha Up.. InrtMd, he turned it over into the pUtter of 
eggs And bacon. 

, « ^*r'*^'^ •"«• I" P«"«d W« bride, "wer, 
left with only forty-odd thousud between u*. Of 

tkTft '* ^ ^ '^'*' **' °'*"""^' **'•'• '•'y '^*- 

Preebury wm shaking so violenUy that hi* he«l and 
ann. waggled like a jumr.lng^jack's. He wrapped his 
elegit white fingers about the arms of hi. chair to 
•teady hmwelf. In a suffocated voice he sud: «Do 
you ^ to My that you have only seven thousand 
dollars in the world? » 

"Only half that," corrected die. "Oh, dear, how 
• Si!^ ' I^ than half that, for the.* are some 

• She was impatient for the explosion; the agony of 
her feet and head needed outlet and relief. But he dis- 
appomted her. That was one of the situations in which 
«me appeals in vain to the resources of knguage. He 
Arank and s«.k back in his chair, hi. jaw Lpped. 
and he vented a strange, imbecile cackling laugh Jt 
was not an expre«ion of philosophic mirth, of sense 
of the grotesqueneM of an anti-climax. It was not an 
expre.s,on of any emotion whatever.- It was simply a 
wgnal from a mind temporarily dethroned. 
« What are ^ou laughing at? » she Mid sharply. 


His answer wai a repetition of the idiotic sound. 

"What's the matter with you?" demanded she. 
" Please close your mouth." 

It was a timely piece of advice; for his upper and 
false teeth had become partially dislodged and threat- 
ened to drop upon the shirt-bosom gayly showing Be- 
tween the lapels of his dark-blue silk house-coat. He 
slowly closed his mouth, moving his teeth back into 
place with his tongue — a gesture that made her face 
twitch with rage and disgust. 

" Seven thousand dollars," he mumbled dazedly. 

" I said less than half that," retorted she sharply. 

" And I — thought you were — rich." 

A peculiar rolling of the eyes and twisting of the 
lips gave her the idea that he was about to vent that re- 
pulsive sound again. " Don't you laugh ! " hhe cried. 
" I can't bear your laugh — even at its best." 

Suddenly he galvanized into fury. " This is an out- 
rage!" he, cried, waving his useless-looking white flsts. 
" You have swindled me — twindled me ! " 

Her head stopped aching. The pains in her feet 
either ceased or she forgot them. In a suspiciously 
calm voice she said: " What do you mean? " 

" I mean that you are a swindler ! " he shouted, bang- 
ing one fist on the table and waving the other. 

She acted as though his meaning were just dawning 
upon her. " Do you mean," said she tranquilly, " that 
you married me for money? " 

" I mean that I thought you a substantial woman, and 
that I find yov are an adventuress." 

" Did you think,' inquired she, " that any woman 



who had money would marry youf ' 
very quietljr. »• You nrr a fool ! » 

She laughed — 
_ - - .> » .uoi: -- 

friend* were amazed at mv »toonm„ ♦ . ^ 

Your f.u, , ^ Stooping to accept you. 

he? fZ "r "•" .^"''' '^"'""""'y contractor; wL't 
he?-a ,ort of criminal? But I .imply had to mar^y 
So I gave you my family and position and nameTnTx 
change for your wealth -a good bargai^ foV y u 
but a poor one for mc." ' ' 

e JdXtrth "' *° *" """' '^'"^ """' disconcerting. 
hnS of IT': ""•""P""-'' by remark, abou^ 
h.s ongin of which he was so ashamed that he , id 

Hriii\\,f:r:;; - "*°" -» '™-««- 

" Swindler and adventuress ! " 

th!!^r'\ "'"'* *'"'* "*'" ""■'1 "he. «You are 
the adventurer — desoite the f«.t » lou are 

rich." '^'■''* ^°" ""e very 

"Don't say that again," cried he. '.' J „ever said or 
year -and you'll not get a cent of it. madam ! '• 

it ft!"T '""■"'.' ''"* "•' °»^ '^""^'J have suspected 
.t from her expression of horror. «What-"Vhp 
gasped. "You dared to marry me when yrwere a - 
beggar ! Me - the widow of Henry Gower ' vl .C 
pudent old wreck! Why, you havTn't eno^gh^o" TJ 
my servants. What are we to live on. pray? » ^ ^ 


" I don't know what you'll live on," replied he. " / 
nhall live aa I always have." 

"A beggar!" she exclaimed. "I — married to a 
beggar." She burst into tears. " How men take ad- 
vantage of a woman alone! If my son had been near 
me! But there's surely some law to protect me. Yes, 
I'm sure there is. Oh, I'll punish you for having de- 
ceived me." Her eyes dried as she looked at him. 
" How dare you sit tlicre? How dare you face mc, you 
iniscnible fraud ! " 

Early in her acquaintance with him she had discov- 
ered that determining factors in his character were sensi- 
tiveness about his origin and sensitiveness about his so- 
cial position. On this knowledge of his weaknesses was 
^ecurl■ly based her confidence that she could act ns <he 
pleased toward him. To ease her pains she proceeded 
to pour out her private opinion of him — all the dis- 
agreeable things, all the insulU she had been storing 

She watched him as only a woman can watch a man. 
She saw that his rage was not dangerous, that she was 
forcing him into a position where fear of her revenging 
herself by disgracing him would overcome anger at 
the collapse of his fatuous dreams of wealth. She did 
not despise him the more deeply for sitting there, for 
not flying from the room or trying to kill her or some- 
how compelling her to check that flow of insult. She al- 
ready despised him utterly ; also, sh» attached small im- 
portance to self-respect, having no knowledge of what 
that quality really is. 

When she grew tired, she became quiet. They sat 


there a long time in silence. At last he fan up the white 
flag of abject surrender by saying: 

« Wliat'll we live on — that's what I'd like to know? » 
An eavesdropper upon the preceding violence of up- 
ward of an hour would have assumed that at its end this 
pair must separate, never to see each other again volun- 
tarily. But that idea, even as a possibility, had not en- 
tered the mind of either. They had lived a long time; 
they were practical people. They knew from the out- 
set that somehow they must arrange to go on together. 
The alternative meant a mere pittance of alimony for 
her; meant for him social ostracism and the small in- 
come cut in half; meant for both scandal and confusion. 
Said she fretfully: « Oh, I suppose we'll get along, 
somehow. I don't know anything about those things. 
I've always been looked after— kept from contact with 
the sordid side, of life." 

" That house you Uve in," he went on, « does it be- 
long to you?" 

She gave him a contemptuous glance. " Of course," 
said she. « What low people you must have been used 

"I thought perhaps you had rented it for your 
bunco game," retorted he. « The furniture, the horses, 
the motor — aU those things — do they belong to 
you?" * 

" I shall leave the room if you insult me,"\said ?f.e. 
" Did you include them in the seven thousanu dol- 

" The money is in the bank. It has nothing to do 
with pur house and our property." 


He reflected, presently si d: " T!ie D rsesand car- 
riages must be sold at once - - mid all th. se servants dis- 
missed except perhaps two. We cau !■ .e in the house." 
She grew purple with rage. "Sell my carriages! 
Discharge my servants ! I'd like to see you try ! " 

" Who's to pay for keeping up that establishment? " 
demanded he. 

She was silent. She saw what he had in mind. 
" If you want to keep that house and live comforta- 
bly," he went on, " you've got to cut expenses to the 
bone. You see that, don't you? " 

" I can't live any way but the way I've been used to 
all my life," waile j she. 

He eyed her disgustedly. Was there anything equal 
to a woman for folly? 

"We've got to make the most of what little we 
have," said he. 

"I tell you I don't know anything about those 
things," repeated she. " You'll have to look after them. 
lAIildred and I aren't like the women you've been used to. 
We are ladies." 

Presbury's rage boiled over again at the mention of 
Mildred. "That daughter of yours!" he cried. 
" What's to be done about her? I've got no money to 
waste on her." 

"You miserable Tammany thing!" exclaimed she. 
" Don't you dare speak of my daughter except in the 
most respectful way." 

And once more she opened out upon him, wreaking 
upon him all her wrath against fate, all the pent-up 
fury of two years — fury which had been denied such 


fury s usual and natural expression in denunciations of 
the dead bread-winner. The generous and ever-kind 
Henry Gower could not be to blame for her wretched 
plight; and, of course, she herself could not be to blame 
for It. So, until now there had been no scapegoat. 
Presbury therefore received the whole burden He 
alarmed lest a creature apparently so irrational, should 
in wild rage drive him away, ruin him socially, perhaps 
induce a sympathetic court to award her a large part of 
his income as alimony, said not a word in reply. He 
bade his wrath wait. Later on, when the peril was over, 
when he had a firm grip upon the situation — then he 
would take his revenge. • 

They gave up the expensive suite at the Waldorf that 
very day and returned to Hanging Rock. They alterna- 
ted between silence and the coarsest, crudest quarrelings 
for neither had the intelligence to quarrel wittily or the 
refinement to quarrel artistically. As soon as they ar- 
rived at the Gower liouse, Mildred was dragged into the 

"I married this terrible man for your sake," was the 

burden of her mother's wail. « And he is a beggar — 

wants to sell off everything and dismiss the servants." 

''You are a pair of paupers," cried the old man 

You are shameless tricksters. Be careful how vou 

goad me!" •' 

Mildred had anticipated an unhappy ending to her 
mo hers marriage, but she had not. knowledge enough 
of life or of human nature to anticipate any such hor- 
rors as now began. Every day, all day long the vulgar 
fight raged. Her mother and her stepfather withdrew 


from each other's pfesence only to think up fresh insults 
to fling at each other. As soon as they were armed 
they hastened to give battle again. She avoided Pres- 
bury. Her mother she could not avoid; and when her 
mother was not in combat with him, she was weeping 
or wailing or raihng to Mildred. 

It was at Mildred's urging that her mother ac- 
quiesced in Presbury's plans for reducing expenses 
withm income. At first the girl, even more ignorant 
than her mother of practical affairs, did not appreci- 
ate the wisdom, not to say the necessity, of what he 
wished to do, but soon she saw that he was right, that 
the servants must go, that the horses and carriages and 
the motors must be sold. When she was convinced 
and had convinced her mother, she still did not realize 
what the thing really meant. Not until she no longer 
had a maid did slie comprehend. To a woman who has 
never had a maid, or who has taken on a maid as a 
luxury, it will seem an exaggeration to say that Mildred 
felt as helpless as a baby lying alone in a crib before it 
has learned tocrawl. Yet that is rather an understate- 
ment of her plight. The maid left in the afternoon. 
Mildred, not without inconveniences that had in the 
novelty their amusing side, contrived to dress that even- 
mg for dinner and to get to bed ; but when she awakened 
m the morning and was ready to dress, the loss of 
Therese became a tragedy. It took the girl nearly four 
hours to get herself together presentably — and then, 
never had she looked so unkempt. With her hair, thick 
and soft, she could do nothing. 
"What a wonderful person Therese was!" thought 


she. « And I always* regarded her as rather stupid." 
Her mother, who had not had a maid until she was 
about thirty and had never become completely depend- 
ent, fared somewhat better, though, hearing her moans, 
you would have thought she was faring worse. 

Mildred's unhappiness increased from day to day, as 
her wardrobe fell into confusion and disrepair. She 
felt that she must rise to the situation, must teach her- 
self, must save herself from impending dowdiness and 
slovenliness. But her brain seemed to be paralyzed. 
She did not know how or where to begin to learn. She 
often in secret gave way to the futility of tears. 

There were now only a cook and one housemaid and 
a man of all work — all three newcomers, for Presbury 
insisted — most wisely — that none of the servants of 
the luxurious, wasteful days would be useful in the new 
circuListances. He was one of those small, orderly men 
who have a genius for just such situations as the one 
he now proceeded to grapple with and solve. In his 
pleasure at managing everything about that house, in 
distributing the work among the three servants, in 
marketing, and, in inspecting purchases and nosing into 
the garbage-barrel, in looking for dust on picture- 
frames and table-tops and for neglected weeds in the 
garden walks — in this multitude of engrossing de-" 
lights he forgot his anger over the trick that had been 
played upon him. He still fought with his wife and 
denounced her and met insult with insult. But that, 
too, was one of his pleasures. Also, he felt that on the 
whole he had done well in marrying. He had been lonely 
as a bachelor, had had no one to talk with, or to quarrel 


with, nothing to do. The marriage was not so expen- 
sive, as his wife had brought hira a house — and it such 
a one as he had always regarded as the apogee of ele- 
gance. Living was not dear in Hanging Rock, if one 
understood managing and gave time to it. And socially 
he was at last established. 

Soon his wife was about as contented as she had ever 
been in her life. She hated and despised her husband, 
but quarreling with him and railing against him gave 
her occupation and aim — two valuable assets toward 
happiness that she had theretofore lacked. Her living 
— shelter, food, clothing enough — was now secure. 
But the most important factor of all in her content was 
the one apparently too trivial to be worthy of record. 
From girlhood she could not recall a single day in which 
she had not suffered from her feet. And she had been 
ashamed to say anything about it — had never let any- 
one, even her maid, see her f?et, which were about the 
only unsightly part of her. None had guessed the 
cause of her chronic ill-temper until Presbury, that 
genius for the little, said within a week of their mar- 
riage : 

" You talk and act hke a woman with chronic corns." 

He did not dream of the eiFect this chance thrust had 
upon bis wife. For the first time he had really 
" landed." She concealed her fright and her shame as 
best she could and went on quarreling more viciously 
than ever. But he presently returned to the attack. 
Said he ; 

" Your feet hurt you. I'm sure thty do. Now {hat 
I think of it, you walk that way." 



" I supposB I deserve ray fate," said she. " When a 
woman marries beneath her she must expect insult and 
low conversation." 

" You must cure your feet," said he. " I'll not live 
in the house v ith a person who is made fiendish by corns. 
I think it's only corns. I see no signs of bunions." 

" Vou brute ! " cried his wife, rushing from the room. 

But when they met again, he at once resumed the sub- 
ject, telling her just how she could cure herself — and 
he kept on telling her, she apparently ignoring but 
secretly acting on his advice. He knew what he was 
about, and her feet grew better, grew well — and she 
was happier than she had been since girlhood when she 
began ruining her feet with tight shoes. 

Six months after the marriage, Presbury and his wife 
were getting on about as comfortably as it is given to 
average humanity to get on in this world of incessant 
struggle between uncomfortable man and his uncom- 
fortable environment. But Mildred had become more 
and more unhappy. Her mother, sometimes angrily, 
again reproachfully — and that was far harder to bear 
— blamed her for " my miserable marriage to this low, 
quarrelsome brute." Presbury let no day pass without 
telling her openly that she was a beggar living off him, 
that she would better marry soon or he would take dras- 
tic steps to release himself of the burden. When he at- 
tacked her before her mother, there was a violent quarrel 
from which Mildred fled to hide in her room or in the 
remotest part of the garden. When he hunted her out 
to Insult her alone, she sat or stood with eyes down and 
face ghastly pale, mute, quivering. She did not inter- 


rupt, did not try to escape. She was like the chained 
and spiritless dog that crouches and takes the shower of 
blows from its cruel master. 

Where could she go.i' Nowhere. What could she 
do.' Nothing. In the days of prosperity she had re- 
garded herself as proud and high spirited. She now 
wondered at herself! What had become of the pride? 
What of the spirit? She avoided looking at her image 
in the glass — that thin, pallid face, those circled eyes, 
the drawn, sick expression about the mouth and nose. 
" I'm stunned," she said to herself. " I've been stunned 
ever since father's death. I've never recovered — nor 
has mother." And she gave way to tears — for her 
father, she fancied; in fact, from shame at her weakness 
and helplessness. She thought — hoped — that she 
would not be thus feeble and cowardly, if she were not 
living at home, in the house she loved, the house where 
she had spent her whole life. And such a house ! Com- 
fort and luxury and taste; every room, every comer of 
the grounds, full of the tenderest and most beautiful 
associations. Also, there was her position in Hanging 
Rock. Everywhere else she would be a stranger and 
would have either no position at all or one worse than 
that of the utter outsider. There, she was of the few 
looked up to by the whole community. No one knew, 
or even suspected, how she was degraded by hor step- 
father. Before the world he was courteous and con- 
siderate toward her as toward everybody. Indeed, Pres- 
hury's natural instincts were gentle and kindly.' His 
liatred of Mildred and his passion for humiliating her 
were the result of his conviction that he had been tricked 


into the marriage and his inability to gratify his resent- 
ment upon his wife. He could not make the mother 
suffer; but he could make the daughter suffer — and 
he did. Besides, she was of no use to him and would 
presently be an expense. 

"Your money will soon be gone," he said to her. 
" If you paid your just share of the expenses it would 
be gone now. When it is gone, what will you do? » 

She was silent. 

"Your mother has written to your brother about 

Mildred lifted her head, a gleam of her former spirit 
in her eyes. Then she remembered, and bent her gaze 
upon the ground. 

" But he, like the cur that he is, answered through a 
secretary that he wished to have nothing to do with 
either of you." 

Mildred guessed that Frank had made the marriage 
an excuse. 

" Surely some of your relatives will do something for 
you. I have my hands full, supporting your mother. 
I don't propose to have two strapping, worthless wo- 
men hanging from my neck." 

She bent her head lower, and remained silent. 

" I warn you to bestir yourself," he went on. " I 
give you four months. After the first of the year you 
can't stay here unless you pay your share — your third." 

No answer. 

" You hear what I say, miss? " he demanded. 

" Yes," replied she. 

" If you had any sense you wouldn't wait until your 


last cent was gone. You'd go ' , New York now and 
get something to do." 

" What? " she asked — all she could trust herself to 
speak. , 

"How should / know?" retorted he furiously. 
" You are a stranger to me. You've been educated, I 
assume. Surely there's something you can do. You've 
been out six years now, and have had no success, for 
you're neither married nor engaged. You can't call it 
success to be flattered and sought by people who wanted 
invitations to this house when it was a social center." 

He paused for response from her. None came. 

" You admit you are a failure? " he said sharply. 

« Yes," said she. 

"You must have realized it several years ago," he 
went on. « Instead of allowing your mother to keep on 
wasting money in entertaining lavishly here to give 
you a chance to marry, you »h uld have been preparing 
yourself to earn a living." A pause. « Isn't that true, 
miss? " 

He had a way of pronouncing the word " miss " that 
made it an epithet, a sneer at her unmarried and un- 
marriageable state. She colored, paled, murmured: 

"Then, better late than never. You'll do well to 
follow my advice and go to New York and look about 

" I'll — I'U think of it," stammered she. 

And she did think of it. But in all her life she had 
never considered the idea of money-making. That was 
something for men, and for the middle and lower classes 


- while Hangmg flock wa, regarded as mo.t noisomely 
middle da,, hy fashionable people, it did not ,o regard 
lUelf. Money-making wa, not for ladie,. Like all her 
ciaM, she was a constant and a severe critic of the wo- 
men of the lower orders who worked for her as milliners, 
dressmakers, shop-attendants, cooks, niaids. But, a, she 
now realized, it is one thing to pass upon the work 
of others; ,t is another thing to do work oncelf. 
She- There wa, literally nothing that she could do 
Any occupation, even the most menial, was either 
beyond her skill or beyond her strength, or beyond 

Suddenly she reo.lled that she could sing. Her pros- 
trate spirit suddenly leaped erect. Yes, she could sing' 
Her vo,ce had been praised by experts. Her singinl 
had been m demand at charity entertainment, where 
amateurs had to compete with professionals. Then 
down she dropped again. She sang well enough to 
know how badly she sang -the long and toilsome and 
expensive training that lay between her and operatic or 
concert or even music-hall stage. Her voice was fine at 
times Again -most of the time -it was unreliable. 
No, she could not hope to get paying employment even 
as a church choir-singer. Mis, Dresser who sang in the 
choir of the Good Shepherd for ten dollar, a Sundav, 
had not nearly so good a voice as she, but it was reliable. 
1 here is nothing I can do — nothing ! " 
AH at once, with no apparent bridge across the vast 
chasm, her heart went out, not in pity but in human un- 
derstanding and sisterly sympathy, to the women of the 
panah clas, at whom, during her stops in New York, 


she had sometiincn gazed in wonder and horror. « Why, 
we and they are only a step apart," she said to lieraelf in 
amaiement. " We and they are much nearer than my 
maid or the cook and they ! " 

And then her heart skipped a beat and her skin grew 
cold and a fog swirled over her brain. If she should be 
cast out — if she could find no work and no one to sup- 
port her — would she — " O my God ! " she moaned. 
"I must be crazy, to think such thoughts. I never 
could! I'd die first -di^/" But if anyone had pic- 
tured to her the kind of life she was now leading — the 
humiliation and degradation she was meekly enduring 
wHh no thought of flight, with an ever stronger desire 
to stay on, regardless of pride and self-respect — if 
anyone had pictured this to her as what she would en- 
dure, what would she have said? She could sec herself 
flashing scornful denial, saying that she would rather 
kill herself. Yet she was living — and was not even 
contemplating suicide as a way out! 

A few days after Presbury gave her warning, her 
mother took advantage of his absence for his religiously 
observed daily constitutional to say to her: 

" I hope you didn't think I was behind him in what 
he laid to you about going away? " 

Mildred had not thought so, but in her mother's 
guilty tone and guiltier eyes she now read that her 
mother wished her to go. 

" It'd be awful for me to be left here alone with him," 
wailed her mother insincerely. « Of course we've got 
no money, and beggars can't be choosers. But it'd just 
about kill me to have you go." 


MUdred could not ipeak. 

" I don't know a thing about money," Mr». Prubury 
went on. "Your father always looked after every- 
thing." She had fallen into the way of speaking of 
her first husband as part of some vague, remote past, 

which, indeed, he had become for her. " This man " 

meaning Presbury — " has only about five thousand a 
year, as you know. I suppose that's as small as he says 
it is. I remember our bills for one month used to be as 
much or more than that." She waved her useless, pretty 
hands helplessly. " I don!t see how we are to get on, 

Her mother wished her to go ! Her mother had fallen 
under the infiuence of Presbury — her mother, woman- 
like, or rather, ladylike, was of kin to the helpless, fiabby 
things that float in the sea and attach themselves to 
whatever they happen to lodge against. Her mother 
wished her to go! 

"At the same time," Mrs. Presbury went on, "I 
can't live without somebody here to stand between me 
and him. I'd kill him or kill myself." 

Mildred muttered some excuse and fled from the 
room, to lock herself in. 

But when she came forth again to descend to dinner, 
she had resolved nothing, because there was nothing to 
resolve. When she was a child she leaned from the 
nursery window one day and saw a stable-boy drowning 
a rat that was in a big, oval, wire cage with a wooden bot- 
tom. The boy pressed the cage slowly down in the vat 
of water. The rat, in the very top of the cage, watched 


the floor sink, watrlied tin- water risi'. And an it watched 
it uttered a strange, shrill, feeble sound which she could 
still rpnember distinctly nnd terribly. It seemed to her 
now that if she were to utter any sound at all, it would 
be that one. 


Out the Monday before Thanksgiving, Presbury went 
up to New York to look after one of the little specu- 
latmns in Wall Street at which he was so clever 
Throughout the civilized world nowadays, and especially 
in and near the great capitals of finance, there is a class 
of men and women of small capital and of a character 
m which are combined iron self-restraint, rabbit-like 
timidity, and great shrewdness, who make often a not 
inconsiderable income by gambling in stocks. They 
buy only when the market is advancing strongly; they 
sell as soon as they have gained the scantest margin of 
profit. They never permit themselves to be tempted by 
the most absolute certainty of larger gains. ' They wiU 
let weeks, months even, go by without once risking a 
dollar. They wait until they simply cannot lose. Tens 
of thousands every year try to join this class. All but 
the few soon succumb to the hourly dazzling tempta- 
tions the big gamblers dangle before the eyes of the lit- 
tle gamblers to lure them within reach of the merciless 

Presbury had for many years added from one to ten 
thousand a year to his income by this form of gambling, 
success at which is in itself sufllcient to -tamp a man as 
infinitely little of soul. On that Monday he, venturing 
for the first time in six months, returned to Hanging 


Rock on the three-thirty train the richer by two hundred 
and fifty dollars — as large a « killing " as he had ever 
made in any single day, one large enough to elevate him 
to the rank of prince among the "sure-thing snides." 
He said nothing about his luck to his family, but let 
them attribi te his unprecedented good humor to the 
news he brought and announced at dinner. 

" I met an old friend in the street this afternoon," 
said he. « He has invited us to take Thanksgiving din- 
ner with him. And I think it will be a dinner worth 
while — the food, I mean, and the wine. Not the 
guests ; for there won't be any guests but us. General 
Siddall is a stranger in New York." 
^^ "There are -Siddalls in New York," said his wife; 
"very nice, refined people — going in the best so- 

Presbury showed his false teeth in a genial smile; for 
the old-fashioned or plate kind of false teeth they were 
extraordinarily good — when exactly in place. "But 
not my old friend Bill Siddall," said he. " He's next 
door to an outlaw. I'd not have accepted his invita- 
tion if he had been asking us to dine in public. But this 
is to be at his own house — his new house — and a, very 
grand house it is, judging by the photos he showed me. 
A regular palace ! He'll not be an outlaw long, I guess. 
But we must wait and see how he comes out socially be- 
fore we commit ourselves." 

"Did you accept for me, too?" asked Mrs. Pres- 

" Certainly," said Presbury. " And for your daugh- 
ter, too." " 



" I'm dining' with the 

" I can't go," said Mildred. 

The family no longer had a servant in constant at- 
tendance in the dining-room. The maid of many func- 
tions also acted as butler and as fetch-and-carry be- 
tween kitchen and butler's pantry. Before speaking, 
Presbury waited until this maid had withdrawn to bring 
the roast and the vegetables. Then he said: 

" You are going, too, miss." This with the full in- 
fusion of insult into the " miss." 

Mildred was silent. 

"Bill SiddaU is looking for a wife," proceeded 
Presbury. "And he has Heaven knows how many 
millions." • 

" Do you think there's a chance for Milly? » cried 
Mrs. Presbury, who was full of alternating hopes and 
fears, both wholly irrational. 

"She can have him — if she wants him," replied 
Presbury. « But it's only fair to warn her that he's a 
stiff dose." 

"Is the money — certatB? " inquired Mildred's' 
mother with that shrewdness whose rare occasional dis- 
plays laid her open to the unjust suspicion of feigning 
her habitual stupidity. 

" Yes," said Presbury amiably. « It's nothing like 
yours was. He's so rich he doesn't know what to do 
with his income. He owns mines scattered all over the 
world. And if they all failed, he's got bundles of mil- 
way stocks and bonds, and gilt-edged trust stocks, too. 
And he's a comparatively young man — hardly fifty, 
I diould say. He pretends to be forty." 


" It's strange I never heard of him," said Mrs. Pres- 

« If you went to South America or South Africa or 
Alaska, you'd hear of him,» said Presbury. He laughed. 
" And I guess you'd hear some pretty dreadful things 
When I knew him twenty-five years ago he had just 
been arrested for forging my father's name to a check 
But he got out of that — and it's all past and gor^ 
Probably he hasn't committed any worse crimes than 
have most of our big rich men. Bill's handicap has 
been that he hadn't much education or any swell rela- 
tives. But he's a genius at money-making." Pres- 
bury looked at Mildred with a grin. « And he's just the 
husband for Mildred. She can't afFord to be too par- 
ticular. Somebody's got to support her. / can't and 
won't, and she can't support herself." 
^^ " You'll go — won't you, Mildred? " said her mother. 
He may not be so bad." 

« Yes, I'll go," said Mildred. Her gaze was upon the 
uhtouched food .on her plate. 

"Of course she'll go," said Prcsburjr. "And she'll 
marry him if she can. Won't you, miss? " 

He spoke in his amiably insulting way — as distin- 
guished from the way of savagely sneering insult he 
usually took with her. He expected no reply. She 
surprised him. She lifted her tragic eyes and looked 
tixedly at him. She said : 

'' Yes, I'll go. And PU marry him if I can." 
" I told him he could have you," said Presbury. « I 
explained to him that you were a rare specimen of the 
perfect lady — just what he wanted — and that you, 


and all your family, would be grateiful to anybody who 
would undertake your support." 

Mrs. Presbury flushed angrily. «* You've made it 
perfectly useless for her to go ! » she cried. 

" Calm yourself, my love," said her husband « I 
know Bill Siddall thoroughly. I said what would help. 
I want to get rid of her as much as you do — and that's 
saying a great deal." 

Mrs. Presbury flamed with the wrath of those who 
are justly accused. " If MUdred left, I should go, too." 
cned she. 

"Go where?" inquired her husband. "To the 
poorhouse? " 

By persistent rubbing in Presbury had succeeded in 
makmg the truth about her poverty and dependence 
clear to his wife. She continued to frown and to 
look unutterable contempt, but he had silenced her. 
He noted this with a sort of satisfactibn and went 

" If BiU Siddall takes her, you certainly won't go 
there. He wouldn't have you. He feels strongly on 
the subject of mothers-in-law." 

"Has he been married before.'" asked Mrs. Pres- 

" Twice," replied her husband. « His first wife died. 
He divorced the second for unfaithfulness." 

Mildred saw in this painstaking recital of all the dis- 
agreeable and repellent facts about Siddall an effort 
further to humiliate her by making it apparent how 
desperately off" she was, how she could not refuse any 
offer, revolting though it might be to her pride and to 


her womanly instincts. Doubtless this was i„ part the 
explanation of Presbur^ malicious candor. But a„ 
element m that candor was a prudent preparing of the 

earnest :„ h.s profession of a desire to bring about the 
match showed wi.en he proposed that they fhould take 
rooms at a hotel in New York, to give he^r a chanc^ „ 

thT T ' '"' *'"^ '■"""• '^^-' ^^ '-toned to say 
that the expense must be met altogether out of the 
jmnant of Mildred's share of her father's estate bu 
the Idea wou^d not have occurred to him had he not 
been really plannmg a marriage. 

Never had Mildred looked more beautiful or more at- 

from the Manhattan Hotel on that Thanksgiving cJ2 
mg. At twenty-five, a soundly healthy a^d vigorous 
twenty-five rt is impossible for mind and nerves! how- 
ever wrought upon, to make serious inroads upon sul 
Z I I lu" ^'^' °' — Pation from her hide- 

fu ttr^' St ^; '"^''"^ "P°" *•>« S-'rf "''^ « power- 
ful tome. She had gained several pounds in the three 

mtervenmg days; her face had filled out, color had come 

back ,„ aU .ts former beauty to her lips. Perhaps 

Presbury inventoried her with a succession of grunts 

Youl stnke h,m as just the show piece he needs. 
«m.ted' • "°* '° ^ """' "'"' ^'' •^'"''•^'^ " 

■ " You can't frighten me," said Mildred, ^ith a 


'4-1 - 


radiant, coquettish smile — for practioe. "Nothing 
could frighten me." 

" I'm not trying," replied Presbury. " Nor will Sid- 
dall frighten you. A woman who's after a bill-payer 
can stomach anything." 
" Or a man," said Mildred. 

" Oh, your mother wasn't as bad as all that," said 
Presbury, who never lost an opportunity. 

Mrs. Presbury, seated beside her daughter in the cab, 
gave an exclamation of rage. " My own daughter in- 
sulting me! " she said. 

" Such a thought did not enter my head," protested 
Mildred. " I wasn't thinking of anyone in particular." 
" Let's not quarrel now," said Presbury, with unprec- 
edented. amiabiUty. " We must give Bill a spectacle 
of the happy family." 

The cab entered the porte-cochire of a huge palace 
of white stone just off Fifth Avenue. The house was 
even grander than they had anticipated. The wrought- 
iron fence around it had cost a small fortune ; the house 
itself, without reference to its contents, a large fortune. 
The massive outer doors were' opened by two lackeys 
in cherry-colored silk and velvet livery; a butler, look- 
ing like an English gentleman, was waiting to receive 
them at the top of a short flight of marble steps be- 
tween the outer and the inner entrance doors. As Mil- 
dred ascended, she happened to note the sculpturing 
over the inner entrance — a reclining nude figure of a 
woman, Cupids with garlands and hymeneal torches 
hovering about her. 

Mildred had been in many pretentious houses in and 


near New York, but this far surpassed the grandest of 
them. Everything was brand new, seemed to have been 
only that moment placed, and was of the costliest — 
statuary, carpets, armor, carved seats of stone and 
wood, marble staircase rising majestically, tapestries, 
pictures, drawing-room furniture. The hall was A-ast, 
but the drawing-room was vaster. Empty, one would 
have said that it could not possibly be furnished. Yet 
it wag not only full, but crowded — chairs and sofas, 
hassocks and tete-4-tetes, cabinets, tables, pictures, 
statues, busts, palms, flowers, a mighty fireplace in 
which, behind enormous and costly andirons, crackled 
enormous and costly logs. There was danger in mov- 
ing about ; one could not be sure of not upsetting some- 
thing, and one felt that the least damage that could be 
done there would be an appallingly expensive matter. 

Before that cavernous fireplace posed General Sid- 
dalL He was a tiny mite of a man with a thin wiry 
body supporting the head of a professional barber. 
His black hair was glossy and most romantically ar- 
ranged. His black .mustache and imperial were waxed 
and brilliantined. There was no mistaking the liberal 
use of dye, also. From the rather thin, very sharp 
face look<ed a pair of small, muddy, brown-green eyes 
— dull, crafty, cold, cruel. But the little man was so 
insignificant and so bebarbered and betailored that one 
could not take him seriously. Never had there been so 
new, so carefully pressed, so perfectly fitting evening 
clothes; never a shirt so expensively got together, or 
jeweled studs, waistcoat buttons and links so high 
priced. From eveiy part of the room, from every part 


of the little man's perfumed and groomed person, every 
md.yidu«l article seemed to be shrieking, "The best i. 
not too good for Bill Siddall! " 

Mildred was agreeably surprised -she was looking 
with fierce determin.uion for agreeable surprises - 
whc,^ the costly little man spoke, i„ a quiet. ple.«,nt 
voice with an elusive, attractive foreign accent. 

My, but this is grand — grand. General Siddall •» 
said Presbury in the voice of the noisy flatterer. 
"Princely! Royal!" 

• Mildred glanced nervously at Siddall. She feared 
that Presbury had taken the wrong tone. She saw i,. 
the unpleasant ey«, a glance of gratified vanity. Said 

" Not so bad, not so bad. I saw the house in Paris, 
when I was taking a walk one day. I went to the 
American ambassador and asked for the best architect 
in Pans. I went to him, told him about the house- 
and liere it is." 

"Decorations, furniture, and all!" exclaimed Pres- 

"No, just the house. I picked up the interiors fn 
difl'erent parts, of Europe - had everything reproduced 
where I couldn't buy outright. I want to enjoy mv 
money while I'm still young. I didn't care what it cost 
to get the proper surroundings. As I said to my archi- 
tect and to my staff of artists, I expected to be cheated, 
but I wanted the goods. And I got the goods. PU 
show you through the house after dinner. It's on this 
same scale throughout. And they're putting me to- 
gether a country place — same siort of thing." He 


ctLT '«ld\f "\''°";'^''' -""^ P~*-*'' h" little 

iiol^lr^x*''"" '-''»*•- ''-<'°- ™ii- 

meant was that, as fast as these fellows spend I J 
down t„,n and .ake. Fact is. Vn. a littleTeUe o^ 
than I was when I started in to build." 

Presb^:;: '«Vuri\r ""^ °' -^ •"''-^*' '-«»"^'' 
else in th„ ♦ ^P"'' P""'"^ '""^'> eve.'ybody 

else :n the country must have contributed." 

General SiddaU smiled. Mildred wondered whether 
the pomts of his mustache and imperial would clek 
and break off, if he should touch them. She notedThat 

permanently slightly .rved as byThera:^' of sZ; 
and; the skin shriveled but white with a ghastW 
.^.ckemng bleached white, the nails repulsively 2' 
cured .nto long white curves. "If he' sho'w touch 
2'It ""'""^' ^'^ *'°"^''*- ^"'^ *»>- ^^^ looked at 

The general -she wondered where he had got that 


title — led her mother in to dinner, Prc»bury gave her 
hi« arm. On the way he found opportunity to mutter: 

" Lay it on thick 1 FlatUr the fool. Yjou can't of- 
fend him. Tell him he'i divinely handiome — a Louis 
Fourteen, a Napoleon. Praise everything — napkins, 
tablecloth, dishes, food. Have over the wine." 

But Mildred could not adopt this obviously excellent 
advice. She sat silent and cold, while Presbury and 
her mother ravtd and drew out the general to talk of 
himself — the only subject in the whole world that 
seemed to him thoroughly worth *hile. As Mildred 
listened and furtively observed, it seemed to her that 
this tiny fool, so obviously pleased by these coarse and 
insulting flatteries, could not possibly have had the 
brains to amass the vast fortune he apparently pos- 
sessed. But presently she noted that behind the person- 
ality that was pleased by this gross fawning and 
bootlicking there lay — lay in wait and on guard — 
another |)ersonality, one that despised these guests of 
his, estimating them at their true value and using them 
contemptuously for the gratification of his coarse ap- 
petites. In the glimpse she caught of that deeper and 
real personality, sh liked it even less than she liked 
the one upon the surface. 

It was evidence of superior acumen that she saw even 
vaguely the real Bill Siddall, the money-maker, beneath 
the General William Siddall, r^ and ignorant and 
vulgar — more vulgar in his refinement than the most 
shocking bum at home and at ease in foul-smelling stew. 
Every man of achievement hides beneath his surface- 
personality this second and real man, who makes, the 


fortune, d..eover, the secret of chemistry, fights the 
b.ttle. carne. the election, paint, the picture, commit, 
the frightful murder, evolves the divine sermon or poem 
or symphony. Thus, when we meet a man of achieve- 
rs!.' "-■ '"7"»% have a sense of disappointment. 
Why, that's not the man!" we exclaim. "There 
must be some mistake." And it is, indeed, not the man. 
Him we are incapable of seeing. We have only eyes 
for surfaces; and, not being doers of extraordinary 
deeds, but mere plodders in the routines of existence, 
we cannot believe that there is any more to another than 
there IS to ourselves. The pleasant or unpleasant sur- 
face for the conventional rektion, of life is about all 
there is to us; therefore it is all there is to human 
nature Well, there's no help for it. In measuring our 
fellow beings we can use only the measurements of our 
own selves; we have no others, and if others are given to 
us we are as foozled as one knowing only feet and 
inches who has a tape marked off in meters and centi- 

It so happened that in her social excursions Mildred 
had never been in any of the numerous homes of the 
suddenly and vastly rich of humble origin. She was 
used to — and regarded as proper and elegant — the 
ordinary ostentations and crudities of the rich of con- 
ventional society. No more than you or I was she 
moved to ridicule or disdain by the silliness and the 
awdiy vulgarity of the life of palace and liveried 
lackey and empty ceremonial, by the tedious entertain- 
ments by the displays of costly and poisonous food. 
But General SiddaU's establishment presented a new 



phase to her — and ihe thought it unique in dreadful- 
neu and absurdity. 

_ The general had had a home life in his youth — in a 
coal-miner's cabin near Wilkes-Barre. Ever since, he 
had lived in boarding-houses or hotels. As his shrewd 
and rapacious mind had gathered in more and more 
wealth, he had lived more and more luxuriously — but 
always at hotels. He had seen little of the private life 
of the rich. Thus he had been compelled to get his 
ideas of lusury and of ceremonial altogether from the 
hotel-keepers and coterers who give the rich what the 
more intelligent and informed of the rich arc usually 
shamed by people of taste from giving themselves at 

She thought the tablecloth, napkins, and gaudy gold 
and flowery cut glass a little overdone, but on the whole 
not so bad. She had seen such almost as grand at a 
few New York houses. The lace in the cloth and in 
the napkins was merely a little too magnificent. It 
made the table lumpy, it made the napkins unfit for use. 
But the way the dinner was served! You would have 
said you were in a glorified palace-hotel restaurant. 
You looked about for the cashier's desk ; you were cer- 
tain a bill would be presented after the last course. 

The general, tinier and more grotesque than ever in 
the great high-backed, richly carved armchair, surveyed 
the progress of the banquet with the air of a god per- 
forming miracles of creation and passing them in re- 
view and giving them his divine endorsement. He was 
well pleased with the enthusiastic praises Presbury and 
his wife Javished upon the food and drink. He would 

compliment, with even ml f'. I '"PP''""'"»«'d »»>eir 


thuSr -i ti^Lir;,'!::::;!—"*'" "'0 that 

of co„„e Wc h ""'' * °"' '™'" France_«,iv 
e>..n«e"n:.«T tt: 'Tl ^""1 """ ""' ^ '■•^- 
P-ier-he-. the b", o^ iVh"'""* T'" "'"^ 
to send mc over son,. « • ""h-man of Paris — 

expres. tZ Z j;i' T"^ *'^° -'='"' ^^ "Pecial 
-nd a «,H about ^„::.:lr-«^-«% cents 

Jo Mrs. Presburv • " T'li i, t^ 

Miss Presbury _ excuse ,n. vr ^ ""'''" y°" ""^ 

of the flowers\fte:::V"^^,^--/7"-bou,uets 

• New York -and verv 1,;„K T f ^'" """« f'""- 

r P.^ two doll.„ apfec ' fo/L ^^ ""'-'- ""-rs are. 

-n. And orchids tTeU VLr' T" "' *''" *'«- 
when I indulge in orch.H r I '"""^ "travagant 

and drfnk the ge S'hal "'"'" ""^ "^'" "' f<"«l 
I'np-sed it u/onh ^tTrtT";.*" """'^- ""' 
'-■'tie better than the onHerved to h ""' '"^ 

the increase in e^ns! andl '"''^ "'«''*' *'«'* 

honor, but in his own to l""Zl "" "°* '" t''"^ 

•io when he wisL Vmr 7, JT ^^t* "' -"^ 
lo maxe a holiday. Finally the 


grand course was reached. Into the dining-room, to 
the amazement of the guests, were rolled two great 
restaurant joint wagons. Instead of being made of 
silver-plated nickel or plain nickel they were of silver 
embossed with gold, and the large carvers and serving- 
spoons and forks had gold-mounted silver handles. 
When the lackeys turned back the covers there were dis- 
closed several truly wonderful young turkeys, fattened 
as if by painstaking and skillful hand and superbly 

Up to that time the rich and costly food had been 
sadly medium — like the wines. But these turkeys were 
a genuine triumph. Even Mildred gave them a look of 
interest and admiration. , In a voice that made General 
Siddall ecstatic Presbury cried: 

. " God bless my soul ! Where did you get those beau- 
ties, old man ! " 

" Paris," said Siddall in a voice tremulous with pride 
and self-admiration. You would have thought that he 
had created not merely the turkeys, but Paris, also. 
" Potin sends them over to me. Potin, you know, Is the 
finest dealer in groceries, fruit, game, and so on in the 
world. I have a standing order with him for the best of 
everything that comes in. I'd hate to tell you what my 
bill with Potin is every month — he only sends it to me 
once a year. Really, I think I ought to be ashamed of 
myself, but I reason^ that, if a man can afford it, he's 
a fool to put anything but the best into his stomach." 
"You're right there!" mumbled Presbury. His 
mouth was full of turkey. "You have got a chef, 



"He ought to cook well. I pay him mo™ than mort 
b.nk-p™..dent, get. What do you think of thoae W 
wagons, Mrs. Presbury? » •" 

"They're very -interesting," replied she, a little 
ne.^._^ea„.e she suspected they were so^; sort^S 

"I knew you'd like them," said the general. «.My 

abroad - only of course those they had were just ordi- 
na^ affazrs, not fit to be introduced into a geitlema Js 
dmmg^room. But I took the idea and adaptfd it to my 
purposes — and there you are ! » ^ 

hJ'^^'^'v"*'"'^' "''' """'" '"'' ^'"^''•'ury, who had 
b en dnnkmg too much. "I've never seen it befo^ 

ratenL?"' *""* ' '''' '"^ "«-• «°* «>« ^-^e^ 

But SiddaD in his soberest moment would have been 

tZu\ "^^ " T^"'"" «"'* »y °^ the h-n-n race, 

^luch he regarded as on its knees before him, was ven- 

unng to poke fun at him. Drunk as he no; was, I 

openest^rcasm would have been accepted as a co^pT 

Tan ; I J " ^"^"'^ ^'"'"^ ''»''* ""body more 
ban touched-a molded mousse of whipped and frozen 
^eam and strawberries _« specially sent^to me from 
Flonda and costing me a dollar apiece, I gue« »_ after 
r ~f J..?"*' ""^ "Ji'W'ed fruit was served 

course. He delivered it in a disgustingly thick tone. 
The pmeapple was .„ English hothouse product, the 
grape, were grown by a costly process under glals in 
Belgium. A. for th. peaches. Potin had sent th«,e deU- 


cately blushing marvels, and the charge for this would 
be " not less thaii a louis apiece, sir — a louis d'or 
— which, as you no doubt know, is about four dollars 
of Uncle Sam's money." 

The coffee — " the Queen of Holland may have it on 
her private table — may, I say — but I doubt if any- 
one else in the world gets a smell of it except me " — 
the coffee and the brandy came not a moment too soon. 
Presbury was becoming stupefied with indigestion; his 
wife was nodding and was wearing that vague, forced, 
pleasant smile which stands propriety-guard over a 
mind asleep ; Mildred Gower felt that her nerves would 
endure no more ; and the general was falling into a be- 
sotted state, spilling his wine, mumbling his words. 
,The coffee and the brandy revived them all somewhat. 
Mildred, lifting her eyes, saw by way of a mirrored 
section of the enormous sideboard the English butler 
surveying master and guests with slowly moving, sneer- 
ing glance of ineffable contempt. 

In the drawing-room agafn Mildred, requested by 
Siddall and ordered by Presbury, sang a little French 
sbng and then — at the urging of Siddall — "Annie 
Laurie." Siddall was wiping his eyes when she turned 
around. He said to' Presbury : 

" Take your wife into the conservatory to look at my 
orchids. I want to say a word to your stepdaughter." 

Mildred started up nervously. She saw how drunk 
the general was, saw the expression of his face that a 
woman' has to be innocent indeed not to understand. 
She was afraid to be left alone with him. Presbury 
came up to her, said rapidly, in a low tone : 


« It's all right. He's got a high sense of what's due 
a respectable woman of our class. He isn't as drunk 
as he looks and acts." 

Having said which, he took his wife by the arm and 
pushed her into the adjoining consetvatory. Mildred 
reseated herself upon the inlaid piano-bench. The little 
man, his face now shiny with the sweat of drink and 
emotion, drew up a chair in front of her. He sat — 
and he was almost as tall sitting as standing. He said 
graciously: ' 

" Don't be afraid, my dear girl. I'm not that dan- 

She Ufted her eyes and looked at him. She tried to 
conceal her aversion ; she feared she was not succeeding. 
«ut she need not have concerned herself about that. 
General Siddall, after the manner of very rich men 
could not conceive of anyone being less impressed with 
his superiority in any way than he himself was. For 
years he had heard only flatteries of himself — his own 
voice singing his praises, the fawning voices of those 
he hired and of those hoping to get some financial ad- 
vantage. He could not have imagined a mere woman 
not being overwhehned by the prospect of his courting 
her. Nor would it have entered his head that his money 
would be the diief, much less the only, consideration 
«. h her. He had long since lost all point of view, and 
believed that the adulation paid his wealth was evoked 
by his charms of person, mind, and manner. Those 
who nnagine this was evidence of folly and weak-mind- 
edness and extraordinary vanity .how how litUe they 
know human nature. The strongest htad could not re- 


muin steady, the most accurate eyes could not retain 
their measuring skill, in such an environment as always 
completely envelops wealth and power. And the mucb- 
talked-of difference between those boiii to wealth and 
power and those who rise to it from obscurity resolves 
itself to little more than the difference between those 
bom mad and those who go insane. 

Looking at the little man with the disagreeable eyes, 
so dull yet so shrewd, Mildred saw that within the drunk- 
ard who could scarcely sit straight upon the richly 
upholstered and carved gilt chair there was another per- 
son, coldly sober, calmly calculating. And she real- 
ized that it was this person with whom she was about to 
have the most serious conversation of her life thus far. 

The drunkard smiled with a repulsive wiping and 
smacking of the thin, sensuid lips. " I suppose you 
know why I had you brought here this erening? " said 

Mildred looked and waited. 

" I didn't intend to say anything to-nig^t. In fact, 
I didn't expect to find i.i you what I've been looking 
for. I thought that old fool of a stepfather of yours 
was cracking up his goods beyond their merits. But 
he wasn't. My dear, you suit me from the ground 
up. I've been looking you over carefully. You were 
made for the place I want to filL" 

Mildred had lowered her eyes. Her face had become 
deathly pale. " I feel faint," she murmured. " It is 
very warm here." 

<' You're hot sickly? " inquired the general sharply. 
" You look like a good solid woman -~ thia but wiry. 


Ever been ,ick? I must look into your health. Thli^ 
a pomt on which I must be satisfied." 

strength. She was about to speak -a rebuke to his 
colossal impudence that he would not soon forget. 
Ihen she remembered, and bit her lips. 

"I don't ask you to decide to-night," pursued he 
hastemng to explain this concession by adding: "i 

wmij f Z "":' '"^""- ^" ' ^y " "'at I am 
Tfr" *°°* "" "P *° **>e sample." 

MxMred saw her stepfather and her mother watch- 
ing from just within the conservatory door. A move- 
ment of the portiire at the door into the hall let her 
the": ^y^rh '""^ ""*'"' """ P^^P'"« -d listening 

toother . W^' "'="'''"' """ ''»"'^' ^"""^ *hem 
ogether struck them against her temples, crossed the 

roo^swrftly, flung herself down upon a sofa, and burst 

•nto tear,. Prerf,ury and his wife entered. Siddall 

was standing, koking after Mildred with a grin. He 

wmked at Presburjr and said: 

"I guess we gave her too much of that wine. It's 
all old and strwiger than you'd think." 

"My daughter hardly touched her glasses," cried 
Mrs, rresbury. 

Jr ^ rTZ ^^.' '"*''^'" "P''"'^ ^'^^^- "" I ''ot'^hed 
ner. If she d done much drinking, I'd have been done, 
then and there." 

cl7 '^^.f' ""P'** ''y "^^ y"'"* been saying, 

a g-rl? You don't realize how magnificent you are- 
•«>«■ magnificent everything is here." 


" I'm sorry if I upaet her/' said the general, swelling 
and loftily contrite. " I don't know why it is that peo- 
ple never seem to be able to act natural with me." He 
hated those who did, regarding them as sodden, un- 
appreciative fools. 

Mrs. Presbury was quieting her daughter. Fresbury 
and Siddall lighted cigars and went into the sraoking- 
and billiard-room across the hall. Said Fresbury : 

" I didn't deceive you, did I, General? " 

" She's entirely satisfactory," replied Siddall. " I'm 
going to make careful inquiries about her character and 
her health.' If those things prove to be all right I'm 
ready to go ahead." 

" Then the thing's settled," said Fresbury. " She's 
all that a lady should be. And except a cold now and 
then she never has anything the matter with her. She 
comes of good healthy stock." 

" I can't stand a sickly, ailing woman," said Siddall. 
" I wouldn't marry one, and if one I married turned out 
to be that kind, I'd make short work of her. When you 
get right down to facts, what is a woman? Why, a 
body. If she ain't pretty and well, she ain't nothing. 
While Fm looking up her pedigree, so to speak, I want 
you to get her mother to explain to her just what kind 
of a man I am." 

" Certainly, certainly," said Fresbury. 

" Have her told that I don't put up with foolishness. 
If she wants to look at a man, let her look at me." 

" You'll have no trouble in that way," said Presbury. 

" I did have trouble in that way," replied the general 
sourly. " Women are fools — all women. But the 


principal trouble with the second Mrs. Siddall was that 
she wasn't a lady born." 

"That's why I say you'U have no trouble," said 
I Fresbury. 

" Well, I want her mother to talk to her plainer than 
a gentleman can talk to a young lady. I want her to 
understand that I am marrying so that I can have a 
>r./>- cheerful, ready, and healthy. I'll „ot put up 
with foolishness of any kind." 

"I understand," said Presbury. "You'll find that 
she 11 meet all your conditions." 

"Explain to her that, while I'm the easiest, most 
liberal-spending man in the world when I'm getting 
what I want, I am just the opposite when I'm not get- 
ting what I pay for. If I take her and if she acts right, 
shell have more of everything that women want than 
any woman in the world; I'd take a pride in my wife. 
There isn't anything I wouldn't spend in showing her 
off to advantage. And I'm willing to be liberal with 
her mother, too.V 

Presbury had been hoping for this. His eyes spar- 
kled. "You're a prince. General," he said. "A gen- 
uine prince. You know how to do things right." 

"I flatter myself I do," said the general. "I've 
been up and down the world, and I tell you most of the 
kmgs hve cheap beside me. And when I get a wife 
worth showing ofl-, I'U do still better. I've got wonder- 
ful ci^ative ability. There isn't anything I can't and 
won't buy." 

Presbury noted uneasily how cold and straight, how 
obviously repeUed and repelling the girl was as she 


yielded her fingen to Siddall at the leave-taking. He 
and her mother covered the silence and ice with hot and 
voluble sycophantry. They mig^t have spared them- 
selves the exertion. To Siddall Mildred was at her 
most fascinating when she was thus " the lady and the 
queen." The final impression she made upon him was 
the most favorable of all. 

In the cab Mrs. Presbury talked out of the fuUness 
of an overflowing heart. "What a remarkable man 
the general is!" said she. "You've only to look at 
him to realize that you're in the presence of a really 
superior person. And what tact he has! — and how 
generous he is! — and how beautifully he entertains! 
So much dignity — so much simplicity — so much — " 
"Fiddlesticks!" interrupted Presbury, "Your 
daughter isn't a damn fool, Mrs. Presbury." 
Mildred gave a short, dry laugh. 
Up flared her mother. « I mean every word I said I " 
cried shfe. " If I hadp't admired and appreciated him, 
I'd certainly not have acted as I did. / couldn't stoop 
to such hypocrisy." 

" Fiddlesticks ! " sneered Presbury. « Bill Siddall is 
a horror. His house is a horror. His dinner was a 
horror. "These loathsome rich people! They're ruin- 
ing the world — as tiiey always have. They're making 
it impossible for anyone to get good service or good 
food or good furniture or good clothing or good any- 
thing. They don't know good things, and they pay 
exorbitant prices for showy trash, for crude vulgar 
luxury. They corrupt taste. They make everyone 
round them or near them sycophants and cheats. They 


substitute money for intelligence and discrimination. 
They degrade every fine thing in life. Civilization i. 
bwlt up by brain, and hard work, and along come the 
rich and rot and ruin it! " 

Mildred and her mother were lirtening in astwiA- 
ment. Said the mother : 

« 1'' J* '•''■"'*^ to "'nfw' myself such « hypocrite." 
And I, madam, would be ashamed to be such a 
hypocrite without taking a bath of confession after^ 
ward," retorted Presbury. 

"At least you might have waited until MUdred 
wasn t m hearing," snapped she. 
" I shpU marry him if I can," said Mildred. 
"And blissfully happy you'U be," .aid Presbury. 
Women, ladies -true ladie., like yon and your 
rS« 7..iT "° «nsibilitie,. All you a.k is luxury. 
If Bill Siddall were a thousand times worse than he U, 
his money would buy him almost any refined, delicate 
lady anywhere in Christendom." 

Mrs. Presbury laughed angrily. " You. talking like 
this -you of all men. I. there anything you. wouldn't 
stoop to for money? " 

" Do you think I laid myself open to that charge by 
"larrymg you?" said Presbury, made cheerful despite 
liis ^avage indigestion by the opportunity for effective 
■nsult .he had given him and he had promptly seized. 
1 am far too gallant to agree with you. But Pm 
also too gallant to contradict a lady. By the way 
you must be careful in dealing with SiddaU. Rich peo^ 
pie like to be fawned on, but not to be slobbered on. 
1 ou went entirely too far." 


Mm. Fresbury, whom indigestion had rendered stupid, 
could think of no repljr. So she bunt into tean. 
"And my own daughter sitting silent while that man 
insults her mother!" she sobbed. 

Mildred sat stiff and cold. 

" It'll be a week before I recover from that dinner," 
Presbury went on sourly. "What a dinner! What a 
villainous mess! These vulgar, showy rich! That 
champagne! He said it cost him six dollars a bottle, 
and no doubt it did. I doubt if it ever saw France. 
The dealers rarely waste genuine wine on such cattle. 
The wine-cellars of fine houses the world through are 
the laughing-stock of connoisseurs — like their picture- 
galleries and their other attempts to make money do the 
work of taste. I forgot to put my pills in my bag. 
I'll hive to hunt up an all-night drug-store. I'd not 
dare go to bed without taking an antidote for that 

But Presbury had not been altogether improvident. 
He had hoped great things of Bill Siddall's wine-cellar 
— this despite an almost unbroken series of bitter dis- 
illusionments and disappointments in experience with 
those who had the wealth to buy, if they had had the 
taste to select, the fine wines he loved. So, resolving 
to indulge himself, he had put into his bag his pair of 

This was a device of his own inventing, on which he 
prided himself. It consisted of a pair of roomy doe- 
skin slippers reenforced with heavy soles and provided 
with a set of three thin insoles to be used according as 
the state of his toes made advisable. The cost of the 


Pre.bury gout-boot had been, thank, to patient .ean:h 
for a cheap cobbler, .omething under tL dolUr!^ 
th«, when men paid .hoe .peci.Ii.t. twenty, thirty and 

Thh uJ^! ""*"""« ■"•■• *•" *'"'« -t which he 
had drunk to drown hi. chagrin a.d to give hin, courage 
^d tongue^for .ycophantry. he put on the boot!^ 
W.thout then, .t would have been nece.,.ry to carry h « 
from h.. roon, to a cab and from cab to^rain. Wi^ 
hem he wa. able to hobble to a ,treet-car. He tr^S 

war wii;r ■"'"' "■'"" '" •"''*""«' •'^ ''"''^« 
dauVr """' "' '" '■''' '"" "" "t«P 

an^i*" S'^ '''" °"" """^ "* '«»'"*' -»d the mother 
and daughter escaped from him. the mother .aid: 

an^ aZh *° ? *'"'* y"" P"* "P ""h that ,,retch, 
and didn't an.wer him back." ' 

"Of course^" .aid Mildred. «He', mad to be rid 
of^m^ but .f I offended him he might .natch away th". 

"He would." .aid Mrs. Presburv. "I'm ,„« l.. 
would^ But-" .he laughed vicio Jy -..'„r .^u'^ 
married you can revenge yourself — and me'" 
" I wonder." said Mildred thoughtfully 
;; Why not?" exclaimed her mother, irritated. 
I cant make Mr. Pre.bury out." replied the girl 

I H "". 1""f '5^ ^"'^ '■^'P'"* ™ *" ^h-^ chance, bui 
I don t understand why he isn't making friends with me, 
m the hope of getting something after I'm married " 
^^ Her mother .aw the point, and was instantly agitated. 
Perhap. he's simply leading you on, intending to up- 


She gritted her teeth. 

Mt it all at the kit minute." 
"Oh, what •wretch!" 

Mildred wh not heeding. "I miut hare General 
Siddall looked up carefully," ihe went on. « It may 
be that he ien't rich, or that he haa another wife 
somewhere, or that there'i lome other awful rea- 
»on why marrying him would be eren woree than it 

" Woree than it eeemel " cried her mother. " How 
can you Ulk so, Millyl The general seem* to be an 
ideal husband — simply ideal! I wish / had your 
chance. Any sensible woman could lore him." 

A strange look came into the girl's face, and her 
mother could not withstand her eyes. « Dont, mother," 
A« said quietly. " Either you take me for a fool or 
you are trying to show me that you have no self-re- 
spect I am not deceiving myself about what I'm do- 

Mrs. Fresbury opened her lips to remonstrate, 
changed her mind, drew a deep sigh. " It's frightful 
to be -a woman," she said. 

" To be a. lady, Mr. Fresbury would say," suggested 

After some discussion, they fixed upon Joseph Tilker 
as the best available investigator df General Siddall. 
Tilker had been head cleric for Henry Gower. He was 
now in for himself and had offered to look after any 
legal business Mrs. Fresbury might have without 
charging her. He presently reported that there was 
not a doubt as to the wealth of the little general. 
" There are aU sorb of ugly stories about how he made 



hu money." ...d TUker, "but M tb. great fortune. 
h«T» • leucUloui hiitory, ud I doubt if SirflMl'. k 

!!!!^ "^T^ ^u *''* """"• ' *•"'» •* »«"' " - " -o»W 
be. SiddaU hM the reputation of being , „. „ , „„,. 

cruel httl. ty«„t. He i. «id to be p , .k,,., , . 
Ignorant — - ' 

"Indeed he', not," cried Mr.. Pr.ri,„rv. • ji,v ^ 
rough diamond, but a natural gentK,.,:,. Xv. Met 

"Wen. he*, rich enough, and that wa« all you ,^ou 
me to find ouV .aid Tilker, « But I m„.t wa: . ^ ou, 
Mr.. Pre.bury, not to have any burin.™ or intii^ate 
perwnal reUtion. with him." 

Mr.. Pre.bury congratulated herwlf an her wi«lom 
■n having come alone to hear Tilker'. report. She did 
not repeat any part of it to Mildred except what he had 
«.d^ut the wealth. That .he enlarged upon until 
A^^ """ *"' ""*• ®''' '"t^'n-Pted with a 

" n "f I.*""* *^"' "•""""' ^ Anything .bout him per- 
■ona^yr ' "^ 

"We've got to judge him in that way for ourwlve.," 
replwd Mr.. Presbury. « You know how wickedly thev 
He about anyone who has anything," 

^ n » •''"f "l"!^! *° ""^ " '"" *«»"»» of General Sid- 
dall, .aid MJdred reflectively; «ju,t to wti,fT my 
curiosity." ^ •' ^ 

Mrs. Presbury made no reply. 

Presbury had decided that it wa. bert to make no 
advance, but to wait until they heard from Siddall. He 
H a week, ten days, go by; then hi. impatience got 


the better of his shrewdness. He sought admittance 
to the great man at the offices of the International 
Metals and Minerals Company in Cedar Street. After 
being subjected to varied indignities by sundry under- 
strappers, he received a message from the general 
through a secretary: « The general says he'll let you 
know when he's ready to take up that matter. He says 
he hasn't got round to it yet." Presbury apologized 
courteously for his intrusion and *ent away, cursing 
under his breath. You may be sure that he made his 
wife and his stepdaughter suffer for what he had been 
through. Two weeks more passed — three — a month. 
One morning in the mail there arrived this note — type- 
written upon business paper: 

Jamis Presbuby, Esqr.: 
Dear Sir: 

General Siddall asks me to present his compliments 
and to say that he will be pleased if you and your wife and 
the young lady will dine with him at his house next Thurs- 
day the seventeenth at half-past seven sharp. 

BoBEBT Chandusb, Secretary. 

The only words in longhand were the two forming 
the name of the secretary. Presbury laughed and 
tossed the note across the breakfast table to his wife. 
'' You see what an ignorant creature he is," said he. 
" He imagines. he has done the thing up in grand style. 
He's the sort of man that can't be taught manners be- 
cause he thinks manners, the ordinary civilities, are for 
the lower orders of people. Oh, he's a joke, is Bill 
Siddall — a horrible joke." 


Mrs. Presbury read and passed the letter to Mildred 
She simply glanced at it and returned it to her step- 
father. '^ 

"I'm just about over that last dinner," pursued 
I'!?'^?. "^'" *"* JiW-Thursday and drink less. 
And I d advise you to do the same, Mrs. Presbury." 

He always addressed her as " Mrs. Presbury " be- 
cause he had discovered that when so addressed she al- 
ways wmced, and, if he put a certain tone into his voice, 
she quivered. 

••That dinner aged you five years," he went on. 

Besides, you drank so much that it went to your head 
and made you slasher him with flatteries that irritated 
him. He thought you were a fool, and no one is stupid 
enough to like to be flattered by a fool." 

u^Z f"'^"'y ^"^^''^' swallowed hard, said mildly: 
Well have to spend the night in town again, I sup- 
pose." - *^ 

••You and your daughter may do as you like," said 
Presbury. « I shall r«tum here that night. I always 
catch cold in strange beds." 

^^ ••We might as well all return here," said Mildred. 
'•I shall not wear evening dress ; that is, I'll wear a 
high-neck dress and a hat." 

She had just got a new hat that was peculiarly be- 
coming to her. She had shown Siddall herself at the 
best in evening attire; another sort of costume would 
give him a different view of her looks, one which she 
flattered herself was not less attractive. But Presbury 
interposed an emphatic veto. 

"You'll wear full evening dress," said he. "Bare 


They want 

neck and aims for men like Bill Siddall. 
to see what they're getting." 

Mildred flu«he<i scarlet and her lips trembled as 
though she were about to cry. In fact, her emotion 
was altogether shame — a shame so poignant that even 
Presbury was abashed, and mumbled something apolo- 
getic. Nevertheless she wore a low-neck dress on Thurs- 
day evening, one as daring as the extremely daring 
fashions of that year permitted an unmarried woman 
to wear. It seemed to her that Siddall was still more 
costly and elegant-looking than before, though this 
may have been due to the fact that he always created an 
mipression that in the retrospect of memory seemed ex- 
aggerated. It seemed impossible that anyone could be 
so clean, so polished and scoured, so groomed and 
tailored, so bedecked, so high-heeled and loftily coiffcd. 
His mean little countenance with its grotesquely waxed 
mustache and imperial wore an expression of gracious 
benignity that assured his guests they need anticipate 
no disagreeable news. 

« I owe you an apology for keeping you in suspense 
■o long," said he. « I'm a very busy man, with in- 
terests in all parts of the world. I keep house — 
some of 'em bigger than this — open and going in six 
different places. I always like to be at home wherever 
my business takes me." 

Mrs. Presbury rolled her eyes. « Isn't that tuonder- 
ful/ " she exclaimed. « What an interesting life vou 
must lead!" 

"Oh, so — so," replied the general "But I get 
awful lonesome. I'm naturaDy a domestic man. I 


don't ere for friends. They're expensive and danger- 
ous. A man in my position is like a king. He can't 
W friends. So, if he hasn't got a family, he hasn't 
got noth — anything." 

" Nothing like home life," said Presbnry. 
" Yes, indeed," cried Mrs. Presbury. 
The little general smiled upon Mildred, sitting pale 
and s.lent, with eyes downcast. « Well, I don't intend 
to be alone much longer, if I can help it," said he. 
And I may say that I can make a woman happy if 
•hes the right sort -if she has sense enough to ap- 
precmte a good husband." This kst he said sternly, 
with more than a hint of his past matrimonial misfor- 
tunes m his frown and in his voice. « The trouble with 
a great many women is that they're fools — fliffhtv 
ungrateful fools. If I married-ii woman like that, I'd' 
make short work of her." 

"And she'd deserve it. General," said Mildred's 
mother earnestly. « But youll have no trouble if you 
select a lady -a girl who's been well brought up and 
has respect for herself." 

"That's my opinion, ma'am," said the general 
"I'm convinced that while a man can become a gentle^ 
man, a woman's got to be bom a lady or she never is 

"Very true, General," cried Mrs. Presbnry «« I 
never thought of it before, but it's the truest thinir I 
ever heard." ° 

Presbury grinned at his plate. He stole a glance at 
MUdrcd. Their eyes met. She flushui faintly. 

" I've had a great deal of experience of women," pur- 



sued the general. « In my boyhood days I was a Udiei' 
man. And of course since I've had money they've 
swarmed round me like bees in a clover-patdi." 

"Oh, General, you're far too modest," cried Mrs. 
Presbury. "A man like you wouldn't need to be 
afraid, if he hadn't a cent." 

"But not the kind of women I want," replied he, 
firmly if complacently. " A lady needs money to keep 
up her position. She has to have it. On the other 
hand, « man of wealth and station needs a lady to as- 
sist him in the proper kind of life for men of his sort. 
So they need each other. They've got to have each 
other. That's the practical, sensible way to look at it." 

" Exactly," said Presbury. 

" And I've made u'p my mind to marry, and marry 
right away. But well come back to this later on. 
Presbury, you're neglecting that wine." 

" I'm drinking it slowly to enjoy it better," said Pres- 

The dmner was the same unending and expensive 
function that had wearied them and upset their diges- 
tions on Thanksgiving Day. There was too much of 
everything, and it was all just wrong. The general 
was not quite so voluble as he had been before; his gaze 
was fixed most of the time on Mildred — roving from 
her lovely face to her smooth, slender shoulders and "back 
again. As he drank and ate his gesture of slightly 
smacking his thin lips seemed to include an enjoyment 
of the girl's charms. And a sensitive observer might 
have suspected that she was not unconscious of this and 
was suffering some such pain as if abhorrent and cruel 


lips and teeth were actually southing and mumbling 
her She sa.d not a word from sitting down at table 
untilthey rose to go into the library for coffee 

Do tell me about your early life, General" Mrs. 
Presbuo^ sa>d. « Only the other day MiUie was saying 

"Yes, it has been rather — unusual," conceded the 
general swelling chest and gently waving dollar- 
and-a-half-apiece cigar. 

" I do so admire a man who carve, out his own for- 
tune," Mr. Presbury went on-she had not obeyed 
her husband's injunction as to the champagne. "It 
seems so wonderful to me that a man could with his own 
hands just dig a fortune out of the ground " 

"He couldn't, ma'am," said the general, with gra- 
cious tolerance. It wasn't till I stopped the fool dig^ 
gmg and hunting around for gol.l that I began to get 

a hotel.' (There were two or three sleeping^rooms of 
a kind m that "hotel," but it was rather a*;aloon of 
the spenes known as « doggery.") « Yes, it was in the 
hotel that I got my sUrt. The fellows that make the 
money in mining countries ain't the prospectors and dio- 
gers, ma'am." * 

" Really ! " cried Mrs. Presbury breathlessly « How 

interesting!" ^ """ 

" They're fools, they are," proceeded the general 

"No, the money's made by the fellows that grub-stake 

the fools -give 'em supplies and send 'em out to nose 

around m tlie mounteins. Then them that find anv- 

73 ' 


thing have to give half to the fellow that did the grub- 
ttaking. And he hiok* into the claim, and if there's 
anything m it, why, he buj« the fool aut. la mines, 
like everywhere else, ma'am, it aint work, it's brains 
that makes the xaomty. No miner ever made a mining 
fortuae — not one. It's itte brainy, foxy fcllowi that 
stay back in the camps. I used to send out fifty and a 
hundred men a year. Maybe only two or three'd turn 
up anything worth while. No, ma'am, I never got a 
dollar ahead on my digging. All the gold I ever dug 
went right off for grub — or a good time." 

" Wonderful! " exclaimed Mrs. Presbury. " I never 
heard of such a thing." 

" But we're not here to talk about mines," said the 
general, his eyes upon Mildred. " I've been looking 
into matters — to get down to business — ^nd I've 
asked you hore to let you know that I'm willing to go 

Profound silence. Mildred suddenly drew in her 
breath with a sound so sharp that the three others 
started and glanced hastily at her. But she made no 
further sign. She sat still and cold and pale. 

The general, perfectly at ease, broke the silence. 
"I think Miss Gower and I would get on faster 

Presbury at once stood up; his wife hesitated, hi 
eyes uneasily upon her daughter. Presbury said: 
" Come on, Alice." She rose and preceded him into the 
adjoining conservatory. The little general posed him- 
self before the huge open fire, one hand behind him, 
the other at the level of his waistcoat, the big cigar be- 


tween his first and second fingers. " Well, my dear? " 
laid he. 

Mildred somewhat hesitatingly lifted her eyes; but, 
once she had them up, 'their gaze held steadily enough 
upon his — too steadily for his comfort. He addressed 
himself to his cigar : 

"I'm not quite ready to say I'm willing to go the 
limit," said he. "We don't exactly know each other 
■uiBciently well as yet, do we? " 
" No," said Mildred. 

" I've been making inquiries," he went on ; " that is, 
I had my chief secretary make them — and he's a very 
thorough man, thanks to my training. He reports 
everything entirely all right. I admire dignity and 
reserve in a woman, and you have been very particular. 
Were you engaged to Stanley Baird?" 

Mildred flushed, veiled her eyes to hide their resent- 
ful flash at this impertinence. She debated with her- 
self, decided that any rebuke short of one that would 
anger him would be wasted upon hiro. " No," said she. 

" That agrees with Harding's report," said the gen- 
eral. " It was a mere girlish flirtation — very digni- 
fied and proper," he hastened to add. " I don't mean 
to suggest that you were at all flighty." 

" Thank you," said Mildred sweetly. 

" Are there any questions you would like to ask about 
me? " inquired he. 

"No," said Mildred. 

" As I understand it — from my talk with Presbury 
— you are willing to go on ? " 

"Yes," said Mildred. 


The general smiled genially. " I think I may say 
without conceit that you will like me as you know me 
better. I have no bad habita — ; I've too much regard 
for my health to over-indulge or run loose. In my 
boyhood days I may hs> e put in rather a heavy sowing 
of wild oats " — the gent- laughed; Mildred conjured 
up the wintriest and ftn ,t of echoing smiles — "but 
that's all pist," he wei i on, " and there's nothing that 
could rise up to interfere with our happiness. You are 
fond of children?" 

A pause, then Mildred said quite evenly, " Yes." 

" Excellent," said the general. " I'll expect you and 
your mother and father to dinner Sunday night. Is 
that satisfactory?" 

" Yes," said Mildred. 

A longish pause. Then the general : " You seem to 
be a little — afraid of me. I don't know why It is that 
people are always that way with me." A halt, to give 
her the opportunity to say the obvious flattering thing. 
Mildred said nothing, gave no sign. He went on : " It 
will wear away as we know each other better. I am a 
simple, plain man — kind and generous in my instincts. 
Of course I am dignifled, and I do not like familiarity. 
But I do not mean to inspire fear and awe." 

A still longer pause. « Well, everything is settled," 
said the general. " We understand each other clearly? 

— not an engagement, nothing binding on either side 

— simply a — a — an option without forfeit." And 
he laughed — his laugh was a ghoulish sound, not loud 
but explosive and an instant check upon demonstration 
of mirth from anyone else. 


" I underitand," said Mildnvl ^;n, i 
ture liome — one of them " ^ '"" 

eveo tiling . that 18, the thngs into whirl, tl,« 
o« of costly furnishing, have put the It ^""'^" 
charging. Of taste, of coX of d "'"" '""■ 
there were r,w trace, and r/ u ''"'"'"'nation, 
•; I pieced out the^n ^L XdT^ :::f";''- 

" ^.^^'^^ "">' "t a glance," said Presbury. « You'v. 
do e he grand th ng on the grandest possible scaT;" 

I '0 looked into the finest of tt,. <■ . 

the 0,1k,. .side... said the g: ra . « 17^ P'"- - 
I've i„„i no regrets." " ^ ™" *ay is, 

"I should say not," cried Mrs. Presbury 
W,th a„ affectation of modest hesitation t u 
that he was a gentleman with a genllema'" V '^°"' 
ciatic, of the due of maiden moE ' s^ "' "''''"' 
attheouK.rdoorofhisownap;:t;;;s't r:;f 
sentence ot urging from Mrs. Preshur„ h \ . 

door a,„l ushered them in. A„d !„ I "P"""' *''* 

'"• And soon he ».. .1 h. , 

7P ■-- --■■-^■uig 


them everything — his Carrara marble bathroom and 
bathing-pool, hii bed that had been uied by •eveial 
French king»» his dressing-room with its appliances of 
gold and platinum and precious stones, his clothing. 
They had to inspect a room full of suits, huge chif- 
foniers crowded with shirts and ties and underclothes. 
He exhibited silk dressing-robes and pajamas, pointed 
out the marks of the fashionable London and Paris 
makers, the monograms, the linings of ermine and sable. 
"I'm very particular about everything that touches 
me," explained he. " It seems to me a gentleman can't 
be too particular." With a meaning glance at Mildred, 
" And I'd feel the same way about my wife." 

"You hear that, Mildred?" said Presbury, with a 
nasty little laugh. He had been relieving the tedium 
of this sight-seeing tour by observing — and from time 
to time aggravating — Mildred's sufferings. 

The general released his mirth-strangling goat laugh; 
Mrs. Presbury echoed it with a gale of rather wild hys- 
terics. So weU pleased was the general with the excursion 
and so far did he feel advanced toward intimacy that on 
the way down the majestic marble stairway he ventured 
to give Mildred's arm a gentle, playful squeeze. And at 
the parting he kisse-l her hand. Presbury had changed 
his mind about returr.i ig to the country. On the way 
to the hotel he girded at Mildred, reviewing all that the 
little general had said and done, and sneering, jeering 
at it. Mildred made not a single retort until they 
were upstairs in the hotel. At the door to her room 
she said to Presbury — said it in a quiet, cold, terrible 




" If you really want mc to go through with thi» 
thing, you will stop insulting him and me. If you do it 
•gain, I'll give up — and go on the streets before I'll 
marry him." 

Fresbury shrugged his shoulders and went on to the 
other room. But he did not begin again the next day, 
and from that time forth avoided reference to the gen- 
eral. In fact, there was an astonishing change in his 
whole demeanor. He ceased to bait his wife, became 
polite, even affable. If he had conducted himself thus 
from the outaet, he would have got far less credit, would 
have made far less progress toward winning the liking 
of his wife, and of her daughter, than he did in a brief 
two weeks of change from petty and malignant tyrant 
to good-natured, interestingly talkative old gentleman. 
After the manner of human nature, Mildred and her 
mother, in their relief, in their pleasure through this 
amazing sudden and wholly unexpected geniality, not 
merely forgave but forgot all they had suffered at his 
hands. Mildred was not without a suspicion of the 
truth that this change, inaugurated in his own good 
time, was fresh evidence of his contempt for both of 
them — of his feeling that he could easily make repara- 
tion with a little kindness and decency and put himself 
in the way of getting any possible benefits from the 
rich alliance. But- though she practically knew what 
was going on in his mind, she could not prevent herself 
from softening .toward him. 

Now followed a succession of dinners, of theater- and 
opera-goings, of week-ends at the general's new coun- 
try palace in the foshionable region of Long Island. 









^ 1653 Eoal Main StrMt 

VS Rochester. HVm York 14609 USA 

= (716) 482 - 0300 - Phone 

BS (716) 288-5989 - Fo« 


All these festivities were of the same formal and tedious 
character. At all the general was the central sun with 
the others dim and draggled satellites, hardly more im- 
portant than the outer rim of satellite servants. He 
did most of the talking; he was the sole topic of con- 
versation ; for when he was not talking about himself 
he wished to be hearing about himself. If Mildred had 
not been seeing more and more plainly that other and 
real personality of his, her contempt for him and for 
herself would have grown beyond control. But, with 
him or away from him, at every instant there was the 
sense of that other real William Siddall — a shadowy 
menace full of terror. She dreamed of it — was 
startled from sleep by visions of a monstrous and 
mighty distortion of the little general's grotesque ex- 
terior. " I shall marry him if I can," she said to her- 
self. "But — can I?" And she feared and hoped 
that she could not, that courage would fail her, or 
would come to her rescue, whichever it was, and that 
she would refuse him. Aside from the sense of her 
body that cannot but be with any woman who is beauti- 
ful, she had never theretofore been especially physical 
in thought. That side of life had remained vague, as 
she had never indulged in or even been strongly tempted 
with the things that rouse it from its virtual sleep. 
But now she thought only of her body, because that it 
was, and that alone, that had drawn this prospective 
purchaser, and his eyes never let her forget it. She 
fell into the habit of looking at herself in the gleiss — 
at her face, at her shoulders, at her whole person, not 
in vanity but in a kind of wonder or aversion. And 



in the visions, both the waking and the sleeping, she 
reached the climax of liorror when the monster touched 
her — with clammy, creepy fingers, with munching lips, 
with the sharp ends of the mustache or imperial. 

Said Mrs. Presbury to her husband, " I'm afraid the 
general will be irritated by Mildred's unresponsive- 
ness. ' 

"Don't worry," replied Presbury. "He's so crazy 
about himself that he imagines the whole world is in the 
same state." 

" Isn't it strange that he doesn't give her presents? 
Never anything but candy and flowers." 
" And he never will," said Presbury. 
" Not until they're married, I suppose." 
Presbury was silent. 

" I can't help thinking that if MiUy were to rouse 
herself and show some — some liking — or at least in- 
terest, it'd be wiser." 

" She's taking the best possible course," said Pres- 
bury. " Unconsciously to both of them, she's leading 
him on. He thinks that's the way a lady should act — 
restrained, refined." 

Mildred's attitude was simple inertia. The most 
positive effort she made was avoiding saying or doing 
anything to displease him — no difficult matter, as she 
was silent and almost lifeless when he was near. With- 
out any encouragement from her he gradually got a 
deep respect for her — which meant that he became 
convinced of her coldness and c.xclusiveness, of her ab- 
solute trustworthiness. Presbury was more profoundly 
right than he knew. The girl pursued the only course 


that made possible the success she longed for, yet 
dreaded and loathed. For at the outset Siddall had 
not been nearly so strongly in earnest in his matri- 
monial project as he had professed and had believed 
himself. He wished to marry, wished to add to his pos- 
sessions the admiidble show-piece and exhibition oppor- 
tunity afforded by the right sort of wife; but in the 
bottom of his heart he felt that such a woman as he 
dreamed of did not exist in all the foolish, fickle, and 
shallow female sex. This girl — so cold, so proud, 
beautiful yet not eager to display her charms or to have 
them praised — she was the rare bird he sought. 

In a month he a^ked her to marry him; that is, he 
said : " My dear, I find that I am ready to go the 
limit — if you are." And she assented. He put his 
arm around her and kissed her cheek — and was de- 
lighted to discover that the alluring embrace made no 
impression upon the ice of her " purity and ladylike 
dignity." Up to the very last moment of the formal 
courtship he held himself ready to withdraw should she 
reveal to his watchfulness the slightest sign of having 
any " unladylike " tendencies or feelings. She revealed 
no such sign, but remained " ladylike " ; and certainly, 
so the general reasoned, a woman who could thus resist 
him, even in the license of the formal engagement, would 
resist anybody. 

As soon as the engagement was formally concluded, 
the general hurried on the preparations for the wed- 
ding. He opened accounts at half a dozen shops in 
New York — dressmakers, milliners, dealers in fine and 
f adiionable clothing of every kind — and gave them 



-ki„^ the courage Tret, " ""' '''"' '"'•="*' ''"' 

nc th,ng as thmgs related to me must be done" he 
went on to sav. " <5n t j. -j j . . "one, ne 

early at what I v. J ^ '^ *° •>"'* ^*'''* '" » ""le 
you'^or your not hfv- ""''''" ''°' ^^^^ ' "«- 

trary, that^ o" of *^ "'°"'^' "^ *"••• ^n the con- 
y, tnat s one of your merits with me. I wonlrfn'f 
marry a woman with money. It nut, thTf ,Ti 
a wrong basis." " P"*' the family hfe on 

"iwhpiri." •*"■'* ^^'•'^"«" -■'' ^"''«<'- 

geZr «°i" To '^ '"f /* '"^' ■ '-''" -•» the 
tf V.,, u ^°" •"*'" - ''^'' '"eoted you feel 

" ycu aren't married with all th» f,-ii a „ . 

So that's the ^ay it shall be doUe » ""' '""' ''^•"«'- 

no guests." ^ '" °" d™wmg-room, with 

Siddall smiled, genial and tolerant. "Don't «r«n,, 

put at yo:;ip!:;^:tr«v T'°"^°^''''- 

T\.^^ • .i . 8° as far as you liki. 

Mrs. General S^H^n ••"*'"'* y"" """tnt have. 

woman ilTe /odd " T* u^" "^ *'^ '*'*-*-*'' 
the *oUd - as she is the prettiest. I haven't 



™d an account for you with Tiffany's or any of 
those peop'e. I'll look out for that part of the busi- 
ness, myself." ' 
" I don't care for jewelry," said Mildred. 
" Naturally not for the kind that's been within your 
means heretofore," replied he; "but you'll open your 
eyes when you see my jewelry for my wife. All m 
goo4time, my dear. You and your mother must start 
right in with the shopping; and, a week or so before 
the wedding, I'll send my people down to transform the 
house. I may be wrong, but I rather think that the 
Siddall wedding will cause some talk." 

He was not wro«g. Through his confidential secre- 
tary, Harding the thorough, the newspaper press was 
•induced to take an interest in the incredible extrava- 
oance Siddall was perpetrating in arranging for a ht- 
tina: wedding for General William Siddall. For many 
days before the ceremony there were daily columns 
about him and his romantic career and his romantic 
wooing of the New Jersey girl of excellent family and 
social position but of comparatively modest means. 
The shopkeepers gave interviews on the trousseau. The 
decorators and caterers detailed the splendors and the 
costliness of the preparations of which, they had^charge. 
From morning until dark a crowd hung round the house 
at Hanging Rock, and on the wedding day the streets 
leading to it were blocked -chiefly with people come 
from a distance, many of them from New York. 

At the outset all this noise was deeply distasteful to 
Mildred, but after a few days she recovered her normal 
point of view, forgot the kind of man she was marry- 


ng in the excitement and exultation over her sud.fen 

p endor and fame. So strongly did the delusion p " 

en % beogme, that she was Poking at the little general 

« Itt r 1 ""'T ''^ '''''• "= --'^ *" >- 
« quaint, fascmatn.g, b .olent necromancer, having 

nuraculous powers which he was exercising in he beh, If 
She even reproached herself with ingratitude TIL 
bcmg wddly in love with him. Would not any ot er 
«.rl, m her place, have fallen over ears in Je w» 
this manelous man? '-"itn 

that she loved, she became convinced without effort tha 

The excitement wrought her into a state of exaltation 
and swept her through the wedding cere,„o„/a.^ 
going away as radiant a bride as a man wouL care to 

There is much to be said against the noisy, showv 

grade himself to the point of attending any such. But 
there is someth „g to be said for that sor't of married 

desired, an effort must be made to cover the painful 
vacancy his absence always causes. 

The little general's insistence on a "real wedding" 
was^most happy for him. It probably got him L 



The intoxication of that wedding held on long enough 
and strongly enough to soften and blu- ■- the disillus.on- 
ments of the first few days of the honeymoon. In the 
prospect that period had seemed, even to M.ldreds 
rather unsophisticated imagination, appallmg beyond 
her power lo endure. In the fact -thanks m large 
part to that intoxication - it was certamly not unen- 
durable. A human being, even an innocent young girl, 
can usuaUy bear up under any experience to a 
human being can be subjected. The general m pa- 
jamas -of the finest silk and of pigeon's-egg blue 
with a vast gorgeous monogram on *« Po^et-was 
more grotesque, rather than more "P*"^"*' *»» ** 
general in morning or evening attire. Also he - that 
is, his expert staff of .^.roviders of luxury -had ar- 
ranged for the bride a series of the most ravisfcrng sen- 
«»tions in whisking her, liU the heroine of an Arabian 
Night's tale, from straitened circumstances to the very 
paradise of luxury. 

The general's ideas on the subject of woman were old- 
fashioned, of the hard-shell variety. Woman was made 
for luxury, and luxury was made for woman. His 
woman must be the most divinely easeful of the luxun- 
ous. At aU times she must be fit and ready for any 
and every sybaritic idea that might enter her husband s 


head — and other purpose she had none. When she 
was not directly engaged in ministering to his joy she 
must be busy preparing herself for his next call upon 
her. A woman was a luxury, was the luxury of lux- 
uries, must have and must use to their uttermost all 
capacities for gratifying his senses and his vanity 
Alone with him, she must make him constantly feel how 
nch and rare and expensive a prize he had captured. 
When others were about, she must be constantly mak- 
ing them envy and admire him for having exclusive 
rights in such wonderful preserves. All this with an 
inflexible devotion to the loftiest ideals of chastity. 

But the first realizations of her husband's notions as 
to women were altogether pleasant. As she entered the 
automobile in which they went to the private car in the 
special train that took them to New York and the 
steamer — as she entered that new and prodigally lux- 
urious automobile, she had a first, keen sense of her 
changed position. Then there was the superb private 
car — her car, since she was his wife — and there was 
the beautiful suite in the magnificent steamer. And at 
every instant menials thrusting attentions upon her, ad- 
dressmg her as if she were a queen, revealing in their 
nervous tones and anxious eyes their eagerness to please. 
Oieir fear of displeasing. And on the steamer, from 
New York to Cherbourg, she wa, never permitted to 
lose sight of the material splendors that were now hers. 
All the servants, all the passengers, reminded her by 
their looks, their tones. At Paris, in the hotel, in the 
restaurants, in the shops - especially in the shop.- 
those snobbish instincts that are latent in the sanest 


and the wisest of ua were fed and fattened and pam- 
pered until her head was quite turned. And the gen- 
eral began to buy jewels for her. Such jewels — 
ropes of diamonds and pearls and emeralds, rings such 
as she had never dreamed existed ! Those shopping ex- 
cursions of theirs in the Rue de la Paix would make such 
u talc as your ordinary simple citizen, ignorant of the 
world's resources in luxury and therefore incredulous 
about them, would read with a laugh at the extrava- 
gance of the teller. 

Before the intoxication of the wedding had worn 
away it was reenforced by the intoxication of the honey- 
moon — not an intoxication of love's providing, but 
one exceeding potent in its influence upon our weak 
human brains and hearts, one from which the strongest 
of us, instead of sneering at poor Mildred, would better 
be praying to be delivered. 

At her marriage she had a few hundred dollars left 
of her patrimony — three hundred and fifty and odd, 
to be more exact. She spent a little money of her own 
here and there — in tips, in buying presents for her 
mother, in picking up trifles for her own toilet. The 
day came when she looked in her purse and found two 
one-franc pieces, a fifty-franc note, and a few coppers. 
And suddenly she sat back and stared, her mouth open 
like her almost empty gold bag, which the general had 
bought her on their first day in the Rue de la Paix. 
About ten dollars in all the world, and the general had 
forgotten to speak — or to make any arrangement, at 
least any arrangement of which 'she was aware — about 
a further supply of money. 


They had been nmiTied nearly a month. He knew 
that she was poor. Why hadn't he said '.oincthing or, 
better still, dotie somethir'»' Doubtless he had simply 
forgotten. But since he h-i forgotten for a month, 
might he not continue to forget? True, he had him- 
self been poor at one time in his life, very poor, and 
that for a long time. But it had been so many years 
ago tliat he had probably lost all sense of the meaning 
of poverty. She frowned at this evidence of his lack 
of the finer sensibilities — by no means the first time 
that lack had been disagreeably thrust upon her. Soon 
she would be without money — and sho must have money 
— not much, as all the serious expenses were looked 
after by the general, but still a little money. How 
could she get it? How could she remind him of his 
neglect without seeming to be indelicate? It was a dif- 
ficult problem. She worked at it more and more con- 
tinuously, and irritably, and nervously, us the days 
went by and her flfty-two francs dwindled to five. 

She lay awake, planning long and elaborate conver- 
sations that would imperceptibly lead him up to where 
he must see what she needed without seeing that he had 
been led. She carried out vhese ingenious conversa- 
tions. She led him along, he docilely and unsuspect- 
ingly following. She brought him up to where it 
seemed to her impossible for any human being endowed 
with the ordinary fai^ulties to fail to see what was so 
plainly in view. All in vain. General Willis Siddall 
gazed placidly — and saw nothing. 

Several days of these failures, and with her funds 
reduced to a fifty-centime piece and a two-sous copper 


»hc made h frontal attack. When they went forth for 
Im day'H sliopping she left her gold bitg behind. After 
an hour '>r so she said: 

" I've got to go to the Galleries Lafayette for some 
little things. I shan't ask you to sacrifice yourself. I 
know you hate those stuffy, smelly big shops." 

" Very well," said he. " I'll use the time in a call 
on my bankers." 

As they were about to separate, she taking the motor 
and he walking, she made a face of charming dismay 
and said: " How provoking! I've left my bag at the 

Instead of the expected prompt offer of money he 
said, " It'll only take' you a minute or so to drive there." 

" But it's out of the way," she replied. " I'll need 
only a hundred francs or so." 

Said he: " I've an account at the Bon March^. Go 
there and have the things charged. It's much the best 
big shop in Paris." 

" Very well," was all she could trust herself to say. 
She concealed her anger beneath a careless smile and 
drove away. How dense he was! Could anything be 
more exasperating — or more disagreeable? What 
should she do? The situation was intolerable; yet how 
could it be ended, except by a humiliating direct re- 
quest for money ? She wondered how young wives ha- 
bitually dealt with this problem, when they happened to 
marry husbands so negligent, not to say underbred, as 
to cause them the awkwardness and ^he shame. There 
followed several days during which the money idea was 
an obse9»ion, nagging and grinning at her every in- 


Htant. The night of money gave her a peculiar itiliinff 
•enwition. When the little general paid for 
— alway. drawing out a great iheaf of bank note* in 
doing It — .he fluihcd hot and cold, her glance fell 
guiltily and lought the money furtively. At luat her 
desperation gave birth to an inspiration. 

About her and the general, or, rather, obout the 
general, revolved the uaual rich man'* small an.iy of 
satellites of various degrees — wcreturies, butlers, 
footmen, valets, other servants male and female, some of 
them supposed to be devoted entirely to her service, but 
all in fact looking ever to the little general. Tlie mem- 
bers of this company, regardless of differences of rank 
and pay, were banded together in a sort of democratic 
fellowship, talking freely with one nother, on term, 
of perfect equality. She herself ha curiously, gotten 
on exceflent terms with this motley fraternity and found 
no small relief from the strain of the gei.eral's formal 
dignity in talking with them with a freedom and .se 
she had never before felt in the society of under: ?s. 
The most cdnspicuous and most agreeable figure in this 
company was Harding, the general's factotum. Why 
not lay the case before Harding? He was notably 
sensible, and sympathetic — and discreet. 

The following day she did so. Said she, blushing 
furiously: "Mr. Harding, I find myself in a very 
embarrassing position. I wonder if you can help me ? " 
Hardmg, a young man and of one of the best blond 
types, said: « No doubt I can — and I'll be glad to." 
« The fact is "_ Her voice was trembling with nerv- 
ousness. She opened the gold bag, took out the little 



silver pieces and the big copper piece, extended her pink 
palm with them upon it — " there's all I've got left of 
the money I brought with me." 

Harding gazed at the exhibit tranquilly. He was 
chieiiy remarkable for liis perfect self-possession. Said 
he : " Do you wish me to cash a check for you ? " 

The stupidity of men! Tears of vexation gathered 
in her eyes. When she could speak she faltered: 

" No." 

He was looking at her now — 'a grave, kind glance. 

She somehow felt encouraged and heartened. She 
went on : "I was hoping — that — that the gen — 
that my husband had said something to you and that 
you perhaps had not thought to say anything to me." 

Their glances met, his movingly sympathetic and un- 
derstanding, hers piteously forlorn — the look of a 
lovely girl, stranded and friefidless in a far strange 
land. Presently he said gently: 

" Yes, he told me to say something to you — if you 
should speak to me about this matter." His tone 
caused in her heart a Ijorrible stillness of suspense. He 
went on : " He said — I give you his exact words : 
' If my wife should ask you for money, tell her my 
ideas on the subject.' " 

A pause. She started up, crimson, her glance dart- 
ing nervously this way and that to avoid his. " Never 
mind. Really, it's of no importance. Thank you — 
I'll get on very well — I'm sorry to have troubled 
you — " 

" Pardon me, Mrs. Siddall," he interposed, " but I 
think you'd best let me finish." 


She started to protest, she tried to move toward the 
door. Her strength failed her, she sat down, waited, 
nervously clasping and unclasping the costly, jewel- 
embroidered bag. 

"He has explained to me, many times," continued 
Hardmg, " that he believes women do not understand 
the value of money and ought not to be trusted with it. 
He proposes to provide everything for you, every com- 
fort and luxury — I am using his own language, Mrs. 
Siddall — and he has open accounts at the principal 
shops in every city where you will go — New York, 
Washington, Chicago, Denverl Paris, London, Rome. 
He says you are at liberty to get practically anything 
you please at these shops, and he will pay the bills. 
He thus entirely spares you the necessity of ever spend- 
ing any money. Should you see anything you wish at 
some shop where he has no account, you can have it sent 
collect, and I or my assistant, Mr. Drawl, will settle 
for it. All he asks is that you use discretion in this 
freedom. He says it would be extremely painful to 
him to have to withdraw it." 

Harding had pronounced this long speech in a dry 
monotonous voice, like one reading mechanically from 
a dull book. As Mildred listened, her thoughts began 
to whirl about the central idea until she fell into a kind 
of stupor. When he finished she was staring vacantly 
at the bag in her lap — the bag she was holding open 

Harding continued: « He also instructed me to say 
something about his former — his experiences. The 
first Mrs. Siddall he married when he was very young 



and poor. As he grew rich, she became madly extrava- 
gant. And as they had started on a basis on which she 
had free access to his money he could not check her. 
The result, finally, was a succession of bitter quarrels, 
and they were about to divorce when she died. He 
made the second Mrs. Siddall an allowance, a liberal al- 
lowance. Her follies compelled him to withdraw it. 
She resorted to underhanded means to get money from 
him without his knowing it. He detected the fraud. 
After a series of disagreeable incidents she committed 
the indiscretion which caused him to divorce her. He 
says that these experiences have convinced him that — " 

" The second Mrs. Siddall," interrupted Mildred, " is 
she still alive?" 

Harding hesitated. "Yes," he said reluctantly. 

" Is she — poor? " asked Mildred. 

" I should prefer not to — " 

" Did the general forbid you to telfme? " 

" On the contrary, he instructed me — But I'd 
rather not talk about it, Mrs. Siddall." 

" Is she poor? " repeated Mildred. 

« Yes." 

« What became of her? " 

A long pause. Then Harding said: 
poor girl when the general married her. 
vorce she lived for a while with the man. 
nothing. They separated. She tried various kinds of 
work — and other things. Since she lost her looks — 
She writes from time to time, asking for money." 

"Which she never gets?" said Mildred. 

" Which she never g^ts," said Harding. " Lately 

"She was a 

After the di- 

But he had 


she was cashier or head waitress in a cheap restaurant 
in St. Louis." 

After a longf silence Mildred said: "I understand. 
I understand." She drew a long breath. " I shall un- 
derstand better as time goes on, but I understand fairly 
well now." 

" I need not tell you, Mrs. Siddall," jaid Harding in 
his gentle, tranquil way, « that the general is the kind- 
est and most generous of men, but he has his own meth- 
ods — as who has not?" 

Mildred had forgotten that he was there — not a dif- 
ficult matter, when he had in its perfection the secre- 
tarial manner of complete self-effacement. Said she 
reflectively, like one puzzling out a difficult problem: 

" He buys a woman, as he buys a dog or a horse. 
He does not give his dog, his horse, pocket-money. 
Why should he give his woman pocket-money? " 

" Will it help matters, Mrs. Siddall, to go to the other 
extreme and do him a grave injustice? " 

She did not hear. At the picture presented to her 
mind by her own thoughts she gave a short satirical 
laugh. "How stupid of me not to have understood 
from the outset," said she. " Why, I've often heard of 
this very thing." 

" It is more and more the custom among men of large 
property, I believe," said Harding. "Perhaps, Mrs* 
Siddall, you would not blame them if you were in their 
position. The rich men who are careless — they ruin 
everybody about them, I assure you. I've seen it again 
and again." 

But the young wife was absorbed in her own 


thoughts. Harding, feeling her mood, did not inter- 
rupt. After a while she said: 

" I must ask you some questions. These jewels the 
general has been buying — " 

Hardiqg made a movement of embarrassment and 
protest. She smiled ironically and went on: 

" One moment, please. Every time I wish to wear 
any of them I have to go to him to get them. He asks 
me to return 'hem when I am undressing. He says it 
is safer to keep everything in his strong box. I hare 
been assuming that that was the only reason. I begin 
to suspect — Am I right, Mr. Harding? " 

"Really I can't say, Mrs. Siddall," said Harding. 
" These are not matters to discuss with me, if you will 
permit me to say so." 

" Oh, yes, they are," replied she laughingly. 
"Aren't we all in the same boat? — all employes of 
the general? " 

Harding made no reply. 

Mildred was beside herself with a kind of rage that, 
because outlet was necessary and because raving against 
the little general would be absolutely futile, found out- 
let in self-mockery and reckless sarcasm. 

" I understand about the jewels, too," she went oh. 
" They are not mine. Nothing is mine. Everything, 
including myself, belongs to him. If I give satisfaction 
in the position for which I've been hired for my board 
and clothes, I may continue to cat the general's food 
and sleep in the general's house and wear the general's 
jewels and dresses and ride in the general's traps and be 
waited on by the general's servants. If I don't like my 


place or he doesn't like my way of filling it "_ .he 
laughed merrily, mockingly _« out I go -into the 
streets — after the second Mrs. Siddall. And the «n- 
eral wiU hire a new -" She paused, bast about for a 
word in yam. appealed to the secretary, "What would 
you call it, Mr. Harding? » 

Harding rose, looking at her with a very soothing 

I should get mto the auto and go for a long drive — 
out to the Bois-out to Versailles -a long, long 
dnve. I should be gone four or five hours at least, and 
I shou d look at the thing from all sides. Especially, 
I d look at It from Ai, sUndpoint." 
^Mildred, somewhat quieter,' but still mocking, said: 
If I should decide t„ quit, would my expenses be paid 
back to where I was engaged? I fancy not." 

Hardmg looked grave. "If you had had money 
enough to pay your own expenses about, would you 
have married him? » said he. « Isn't he paying - pav- 
ing liberally, Mrs. SiddaU — for all he gets?" 

Mildred stung drew herself up haughtily, gave him 
a look that reminded him who she was and who he was. 
iJut Harding was not impressed. 

"You said a moment ago — truly — that we are all 
m the same boat," observed he. "I put those ques- 
tions to you because I honestly wish to help you -be- 
cause I wish you not to act foolishly, hastily." 
"Thank you, Mr. Harding," said Mildred coldly. 

t, ^^\^f^^ """^ '^^ ''™*' ""g'y '"■<' "Earned 
that she had so unaccountably opened up her secret 
soul, bared its ugly wounds, before a man she knew so 


itlig^tljr, a man in a position but one remove from 
menial. However, she took his advice — not as to try- 
ing to view the matter from all sides, for she was con- 
vinced that there was only the one side, but as to calm- 
ing herself by a long drive alone in the woods and 
along quiet roads. When she returned she was under 
control once more. 

She found the general impatiently awaiting her. 
Many packages had come — from the jewelers, from 
the furriers, from a shop whose specialty was the thin- 
nest and most delicate of hand-made underwear. The 
general loved to open and inspect finery for her — 
loved it more than he loved inspecting finery for him- 
self, because feminine finery was far more attractive 
than masculine. To whet his pleasure to the keenest 
she must be there to admire with him, to try on, to ex- 
hibit. As she entered the salon where the little man 
was fussing about among the packages, their glances 
met. She saw that Harding had told him — at least in 
discreet outline — of their conversation. She also saw 
that if she reopened the subject she would find herself 
straightway whirled out 'upon a stormy sea of danger 
that might easily overwhelm her flimsy boat. She si- 
lently and sullenly dropped into her place ; she minis- 
tered to the general's pleasure in packages of finery. 
But she did not exclaim, or admire, or respond in any 
way. The honeymoon was over. Her dream of wife- 
hood was dissipated. 

She understood now the look she so often had seen 
on the faces of rich men's poor wives driving in state 
in Fifth Avenue. That night, as she inspected herself 


in the glass while the general's maid for her brushed 
her long thick hair, she saw the beginnings of that look 
in her own face. " I don't know just what I am," she 
said to herself. « But I do know what I am not. I am 
not a wife." 

She sent away the maid, and sat there in the dressing- 
room before the mirror, waiting, her glance traveling 
about and noting the profuse and prodigal luxury. In 
the comer stood a circular rack loaded with dressing- 
gowns— more than a score of exquisite combinations 
of silk and lace or silk and chiffon. It so happened 
that there was nowhere in sight a single article of her 
apparel or for her toilet that was not bought with 
the general's money. No, there were some hairpins 
that she had paid for herself, and a comb with widely 
separated teeth that she had chanced to see in a win- 
dow when she was alone one day. Anything else? 
Yes, a two-franc box of pins. And that was all. 
Everything else belonged to the general. In the closets, 
in the trunks — all the general's, part of the trousseau 
he had paid for. Not an undergarment; not an outer 
garment; not a hat or a pair of shoes, not a wrap, not 
a pair of gloves. All, the general's. 

He was in the door of the dressing-room — the small 
wiry figure in rose-silk pajamas. The mustache and 
imperial were carefuUy waxed as always, day and night. 
On the little feet were high-heeled slippers. On the 
head was a rose-silk Neapolitan nightcap with gay tassel. 
The nightcap hid the bald spot from which the lofty 
toupee had been removed. A grotesque little figure, 
but not grotesque to her. Through the mask of the 



vain, boastful little face she saw the general watching 
her, as she had seen him that afternoon when she came 
in — the mysterious and terrible personality that had 
made the. vast fortune, that had ridden ruthlessly over 
friend and foe, over man and woman and child — to the 
goal of its desires. 

" It's late, my dear," said the little man. " Come 
to bed." 

She rose to obey — she in the general's purchases of 
filmy nightgown under a pale-pink silk dressing-gown. 

He smiled with that curious noiseless mumbling and 
smacking of the thin lips. She sat down again. 

" Don't keep me waiting. It's chilly," he said, ad- 
vancing toward her. 

" I shall sleep in here to-night — off the couch," said 
she. She was trembling with fright at her own audac- 
ity. She could see a fifty-centime piece and a copper 
dancing before her eyes. She felt horribly alone and 
weak, but she had no desire to retract the words with 
which she had thrown down the gauntlet. 

The little general halted. The mask dropped; the 
man, the monster, looked at her. " Wiiat's the mat- 
ter? " said he in an ominously quiet voice. 

" Mr, Harding delivered your message to-day," said 
she, and her steady voice astonished her. " So I am 
going back home." 

He waited, looking steadily at her. 

"-After ^e told me and I thought about it, I decided 

to submit, but just now I saw that I couldn't. I don't 

know what possesses me. I don't know what I'm going 

to do, or how I'm going to do ' it. But it's all over 



between ui." She said this rapidly, fluently, in a de- 
cisive way, quite foreign to her character as she had 
thought it. 

" You are coming to ,bed, where you belong," said 
he quietly. 

" No," replied she, pressing herself against her chair 
as if force were being used to drag her from it. She 
cast about for something that would make yielding im- 
possible. "You are — repulsive to me." 

He looked at her without change of countenance. 
Said he : « Come to bed. I ask you for the last time." 

There was no anger in his voice, no menace either 
open or covert; simply finality — the last word of the 
man who had made himself feared and secure in the 
mining-camps where the equation of personal courage is 
straightway applied to every situation. Mildred shiv- 
ered. She longed to yield, to stammer out some excuse 
a)iQ obey him. But she could not; nor was she able 
to rise from her chair. She saw in his hard eyes a look 
of astonishment, of curiosity as to this unaccountable 
defiance in one who had seemed docile, who had ap- 
parently no alternative but obedience. He was not so 
astonished at her as she was at herself. " What is to 
become of me?" her terror-stricken soul was crying. 
"I must do as he says — I must — yet I cannot!" 
And she looked at him and sat motionless. 

He turned away, moved slowly toward the door, 
halted at the threshold to give her time, was gone. A 
fit of trembling seized her; she leaned forward and 
rested her arms upon the dressing-table or she would 
have fallen from the chair to the floor. Yet, even as 




her fe«r nude her lick and weak, she knew that ihe 
would not yield. 

The cold drove her to the couch, to lie under half a 
doxen of the dreuing-gowni and preiently to fall into 
a sleep of exhaustion. When she awoke after what she 
thought was a few minutes of unconsciousness, the 
clamor of traffic in the Rue de Rivoli startled her. She 
started up, glanced at the clock on the chimneypiece. 
It was ten minutes past nine! When, by all the rules 
governing the action of the nerves, she ought to have 
passed a wakeful night she had overslept more than an 
hour. Indeed, she had had the first sound and pro- 
longed sleep that had come to her since the honeymoon 
began ; for until then she had slept alone all her life 
and the new order had almost given her chronic insom- 
nia. She rang for her maid and began to dress. The 
maid did not come. She rang again and again ; ap- 
parently th.; bell was broken. She finished dressing and 
went out into the huge, grandly and gaudily furnished 
salon. Harding was at a carved old-gold and lacquer 
desk, writing. As she entered he rose and bowed. 

"Won't you please call one of the servants?" said 
she. « I want my coffee. I guess the beU in my room 
is broken. My maid doesn't answer." 

" No, the bell is not broken," said Harding. 

She looked at him questioningly. 

"The general has issued an order that nothing is 
to be done in this apartment, and nothing served, unless 
he personally authorizes it." 

Mildred paled, drew herself up in what seemed a ges- 
ture of haughtiness but was ai. effort to muster her 


•trength. To save herself from the humiliation of a 
breakdown before him, «hc hastily retreated by the way 
•he had come. After perhap. a quarter of an hour ihc 
reappeared in the salon; ahe wai now dressed for the 
•treet, Harding looked up from his \ riting, rose and 
bowed gravely. Said she: 

" I am going out for a walk. I'U be back in an hour 
or so." 

" One moment," said Harding, halting her as she was 
opening the door into the public hall. « The general 
has issued an order that if you go out, you are not to be 
allowed to return." 

Her hand fell from the knob. With flashing eyes 
she cried, "But that is impossible!" 

" It is his orders," said Harding, in his usual quiet 
manner. "And as he pays the bills he wiU be 

She debated. Against her will, her trembling hand 
sought the knob again. Against her will, her weak arm 
began to draw the door open. Harding came toward 
her, stood before her and looked directly into her eyes. 
His eyes had dread and entreaty in them, but his voice 
was as always when he said: 

" You know him, Mrs. Siddall." 

"Yes," she said. 

" The reason he has got all he wanted — whatever he 
wanted — is that he will go to any length. Every other 
huttjn being, almost, has a limit, beyond which they will 
not go — a physical fear or a moral fear or a fear of 
public opinion. But the general — he has no limit." 

" Yes," she said. And deathly pale and almost stag- 
• 105 


gcring ihe drew open th.- door and wcDt out into the 
public hall. 

"For God's lake, Mrs. S:ddall!" cried Harding, in 
great agitation. " Come in quickly. They are watch- 
ing — they will tell him! Are you mad? " 

" I think I mutt be," laid .he. " I am lick with fear. 
I can hardly keep from dropping down her# in a faint. 
Yet — " a strange look, a mingling of abject terror 
and passionate defiance, gave her an aspect quite iniane 
— " I am going. Perhaps I, too, have no limit." 

And she went along the corridor, past a group of 
gaping and frightened ierva..ts, down the stairway and 
out by the private entrance for the grand apartments 
of the hotel in the Rue Raymond de I'lile. She crossed 
the Hue de Rivoli and entered the Tuileries Gardeni. 
It wai only bracingly cool in the sunshine of that 
winter day. She seated herself on a chair on the 
terrace to regain her ebbed strength. Hardly had ihe 
sat down when the woman collector came and stood wait- 
ing for the iwo sous for the chair. Mildred opened her 
bag, found two coins. She gave the coppen to the 
woman. The other — all the money she had — was the 
fifty-centime piece. 

" But the bag — I can get a good deal for that," the 
said aloud. 

" I heg your pardon — I didn't catch 'hat." 

She came Tjack to a sense of her surroundings. Stan- 
ley Baird was standing a few feet away, smiling down 
at her. He was, if possible, even more attractively 
dressed than in the days when he hovered about her, 
hoping vague things of which he was ashamed and try- 


ing to get the courage to put down hii mobbithneM and 
marry her bccauie ihe ho exactly .uited him. He wax 
wearing a new kind of collar and tie, .triking yet in 
excellent quiet taitc. Alw, hi. face and figure had fiUed 
out ju.t enough — he had been too thin in the former 
days. But he wa« now entered upon that period of the 
fearsome forties when, unlc. a man amount, to .ome- 
thmg, he begin, to look insignificant. He did not 
amount to anything; he wa. therefore paling and wan- 
ing a. a personality. ■ 

" Wa. I thinking aloud? " .aid Mildred, a. .he gave 
him her hand. 

" You Mi,! .omething about ' getting a good deal.' " 
He in,pected her with the freedom of an oid frL'nd and 
with the thoroughness of a connoisseur. Wome-, who 
took pain, with themselves and were satisfipd -vilh the 
result, liked Stanley Baird'. knowing and appreciative 
way of noting the best points in their toilets, " You're 
looking fine," declared he. "It must bt a pleasure to 
them up in the Rue de la Paix to dress you. That's 
more than can be said for nine out of ten of the women 
who go there. Yes, you're looking fine — and in grand 
health, too. Why, you look younger than I ever saw 
you. Nothing like marriage to freshen a girl up. 
Well, I suppose waiting round for a husband who may 
or may not turn up does wear a woman down." 

" It almost killed me," laughed Mildred. " And you 
were largely responsible." 

« I' "said Baird. " You didn't want me. I was too 
old for you." 

" No, I didn't want you," said Mildred. " But you 


I couldn't endure the boys of my own 

spoiled me. 

Stanley was remembering that Mildred had married 
amanmucKolderthanhe. With some notion of a care- 
less sort of tact in mind he said, " I was betwixt and be- 
tween—neither young enough nor old enough." 

"You've married, too, since we met. By the way, 
thank you again for that charming remembrance! 
You always did have such good taste. But why 
didn't y«,u come to the wedding — you and your 
wife? " 

He laughed. «We were busy busting up," said he. 
" You hadn't heard? It's been in the papers. She's 
gone back to her people. Oh, nothing disgraceful on 
either side. Simply that we bored each other to death. 
She was crazy about horses and dogs, and that set. I 
think the stable's the place for horses — don't care to 
have 'em parading through the house all the time, every 
room, every meal, sleeping and waking. And dogs — 
the infernal brutes always have fleas. Fleas only tickled 
her, but they bite me — raise welts and hills. There's 
your husband now, isn't it? " 

Baird was looking up at the windows of the Conti- 
pental, across the street. Mildred's glance slowly and 
carelessly followed his. At one window stood the little 
general, gazing abstractedly out over the gardens. At 
another window Mildred saw Harding; at a third, her 
maid; at a fourth, Harding's assistant, Drawl; at a 
fifth, three servants of the retinue. Except the general, 
all were looking at her. 

"You've married a very extraordinary man," said 


Baird, m a correct tone of admiration. "One of the 
ablest and most interesting men we've got. / think." 

So you are free again? '• said Mildred, looking at 
him with a queer, cold smile. 

"Yes, and no," replied Stanley. « I hope to be en- 
tirely free. It's her move next. I'm expecting it 
every day. But I'm thoroughly respectable. Won't 
you and the general dine with me? " 

"Thanks, but I'm sailing for home to-morrow or 
next day." 

"That's interesting," said Baird, with enthusiasm. 
So am I. What ship do you po on? » 
"I don't know yet. I'm to Wide this afternoon, 
after lunch." She laughed. " I'm sitting he,, wait- 

coffefye™' '" "' ""^ ' '""'^''- ^'^^ -* ^"^ -" 
"Lunch with me!" cried Baird. "I'll ^o «t the 
general — I know him slightly." 

dre7 ^'^'^ '"^ anything about the general," said Mil- 
Stanley smiled apologetically. « It wouldn't do for 
you to go about with me -not when my missus is look- 
ing lor grounds for divorce." 

;; Why not ? " said Mildred. « So's my husband." 

• „ ;r ^""ff "P' *°°^ N°^' th'^t'^ ^hat I caU 
jolly. And he cast a puzzled glance up at the ab- 
stracted general. « I say, Mildred, this is no place for 
either of us, is it?" 

"Pd rather be where there's food," confessed she. 
You think it's a joke, but I assure you— Oh 
you xcere joking — about your bust-up? " 


" No, indeed," she assured him. " I walked out a 
'while ago, and I couldn't go back if I would — and I 
don't think I would if I could." 

" That's foolish. Better go back," advised he. He 
was preparing hastily to decamp from so perilous a 
neighborhood. " One marriage is about like another, 
once you get through the surface. I'm sure you'll be 
better off than — back with your stepfather." 

" I've no intention of going to his house," she de- 

" Oh, there's your brother. I forgot." 

" So had I forgotten him. I'll not go there, either. 
In fact, I've not thought where I'll go." 

" You seem to have done mighty little thinking be- 
fore you took a very serious step for a woman." He 
was uneasily eying the rigid, abstracted little figure a 
story up across the way. 

"Those things aren't a question of thinking," said 
she absently. " I never thought in my life — don't 
think I could if I tried. But when the time came I — 
I walked out." She came back to herself, laughed. 
" I don't understand why "I'm telling you all this, espe- 
cially as you're mad with fright and wild to get away. 
Well, good-by, Stanley." 

He lifted his hat. " Good-by. We'll meet when we 
can do so without my getting a scandal on you." He 
walked a few paces, turned, and came back. " By the 
way, I'm sailing on the Deutschland. I thought you'd 
like to know — so that you and I wouldn't by any 
chance cross on the same boat." 

" Thanks," sai 




« What', the matter? » asked he, arrested, despite his 
anxiety to be gone, by the sad, scornful look in her 

"Nothing. Why.'" 
" You had such a — s ;h a queer look." 
"R'-lly.' Good-by." 

In fact, she had thought -had hoped for the sake 
of her hkmg for him -that he had come back to make 
the glaringly omitted offer of help that should have 
come from any human being learning that a fellow be- 
ing was m the precarious position in which she had told 
h.m sb^e was. Not that she would have accepted any 
such offer. Still, she would have liked to have heard the 
kindly words. She sat watching his handsome, grace- 
ful figure, draped in the most artistically cut o' long 
dark overcoats, until he disappeared in the crowd in 
the Rue de Castiglione. Then, without a glance up 
at the interested, not to say excited windows of the 
generals splendid and spreading apartments, she 
strolled down the gardens toward the Place Concorde 
In Pans the beautiful, on a bright and brisk day it is 
aU but impossible to despair when one still has left 
youth and health. Mildred was not happy — far from 
It. The future, the immediate future, pressed its ter- 
rors upon her. But in mitigation there was, perhaps 
bom of youth and inexperience, a giddy sense of relief 
She had not realized how abhorrent the general was — 
married life with the general. She had been resigning 
herself to it, accepting it as the only thing possible, 
keeping it heavily draped with her vanities of wealth 
and luxury — until she discovered that the wealth and 


the luxury were in reality no more hers than they were 
her maid's. And now she was free! 

That word free did not have its full meaning for her. 
She had never known what real freedom was ; women 
of the comfortable class — and men, too, for that mat- 
ter — usually are bom into the petty slavery of conven- 
tions at least, and know nothing else their whole lives 
through — never know the joy of the thought and the 
act of a free mind and a free heart. Still, she was re- 
leased from a bondage that seemed slavish even to her, 
and the release gave her a sensation akin to the joy of 
freedom. A heavy hand that was crushing her very 
soul had been lifted off — no, fung off, and by herself. 
That thought, terrifying though it was, also gave her 
a certain new and exalting self-respect. After all, she 
was not a worm. She must have somewhere in her the 
germs of something less contemptible than the essAitial 
character of so many of the eminently respectable 
women she knew. She could picture them in the situa- 
tion in which she had found herself. What would they 
have done? Why, what every instinct of her education 
impelled her to do; what some latent love of freedom, 
some unsuspected couiuge of self-respect had forbidden 
her to do, had withheld her from doing. 

Her thoughts and the gorgeous sunshine and her 
youth and health put her in a steadily lest cheerless 
mood as by a roundabout way she sought the slop of the 
jeweler who sold the general the gold bag she had se- 
lected. The proprietor himself was in the front part 
of the shop and received " Madame la Generale " with 
all the honors of her husband's wealth. She brought 

The price she paid 

no experience and no natural trading talent to the en- 
terprise she was about to undertake; so she went di- 
rectly to the main point. 

"This bag," said she, laying it upon the glass be- 
tween them, " I bought it here a short time ago." 

"I remember perfectly, madame. It is the hand- 
somest, the most artistic, we have sold this year." 
" I wish to sell it back to you," said she. 
" You wish to get something else and include it as 
part payment, mada'me? " 

" No, I wish to get the money for it." 
"Ah, but that is difficult. We do not often make 
those arrangements. Second-hand articles—" 

" But the bag is quite new. Anyhow, it must have 
some value. Of course I'd not expect the full price." 
The jeweler smiled. "The full price? Ah, ma- 
dame, we should not think of offering it again as it u 
We should—" 

" No matter," interrupted Mildred. The man's ex- 
pression — the normally pleasant and agreeable counte- 
nance turned to repulsive by craft and lying — made 
her eag* to be gone. " What is the most you will 
give me? " 

" I shall have to consider — " 

"I've only a few minutes. Please do not irritate 

The man was studying her countenance with a des- 
perate look. Why was she, the bride of the mon- 
strously rich American, why was she trying to sell the 
bag? Did it mean the end of her resources? Or, were 
there still huge orders to be got from her? His shrewd- 


ness, trained hy thirty years of dealing with all kind^ of 
luxurious human beings, went exploring in vain. He 
was alarmed by her frown. He began hesitatingly: 

" The jewels and the gold are only a small part of 
the value. The chief value is the unique design, so ele- 
gant yet so simple. For the jewels and the gold, per- 
haps two thousand francs — " 

" The purse was twelve thousand francs," interrupted 

" Perfectly, madame. But — " 

" I am in great haste. How much will you give 

" The most would be four thousand, I fear. I shall 
count up more carefully, if madame will — " 

" No, four thousand will do." 

" I will send the money to madame at her hotel. The 
Continental, is it notP" 

" No, I must have it at once." 

The jeweler hesitated. Mildred, flushing scarlet with 
shame — but he luckily thought it anger — took up the 
bag and moved toward the door. 

"Pardon, madame, but certainly. Do you Wish 
some gold or all notes ? " 

" Notes," answered she. " Fifty and hundred-franc 

A moment later she was in the street with the notes 
in a small bundle in the bosom of her wrap. She went 
hurriedly up the street. As she was about to turn the 
corner into the boulevard she on impulse glanced back. 
,«An automobile had just drawn up at the jeweler's door 
and General Siddall — top-hat, sable-lined overcoat, 


waxed mustache and imperial, higl-heeled booU, gold- 
mounted cane-was descending. And she knew That 
he had awakened to his one oversight, and was on his 
way to repair it. But she did not know that the jeweler 

I7»^ .k""u '"'" '" ''"""'" '"'y»- would hastily vanish 
with the bag and that an assistant would come forward 
with assurances that madame had not been in the shop 
and that, if she should come in. no business would be 
negotiated without the general's express consent. She 
all but fainted at the narrowness of her escape and fled 
round into the boulevard. She entered a taxi and told 
the man to drive to Foyofs restaurant on the left bank 
-where the general would never think of looking for 

When she had breakfasted she strolled in the Luxem- 
bourg Gardens, in even better humor with herself and 
with the world. There was stiU that horrid-faced 
luture, but It was not leering into her very face It 
was nearly four thousand francs away— "and if I 
hadnH been so stupid, I'd have got eight thousand, I'm 
sure, she said. But she was rather proud of a stupid- 
ity about money matters. And four thousand francs, 
eight hundred dollars - that was quite a good sum. 

She had an instinct that the general would do some- 
thing disagreeable about the French and English ports 
of departure for America. But perhaps he would not 
thmk of the Italian ports. That night she set out for 
Genoa, and three days later, in a different dress and 
with her hair done as she never wore it, sailed as Miss 
Mary Stevens for America on a German Mediterranean 



She had taken the whole of a cabin on the quieter 
deck below the promenade, paying for it nearly half . 
of what wa« left of the four thousand francs. The 
first three days she kept to her cabin except at the din- 
ner-hour, when she ventured to the deck just outside 
and walked up and down for exercise. Then followed 
four days of nasty weather during which she did not 
leave her bed. As the sea calmed, she, wretAed and 
reckless, had a chair put for herself under her window 
*nd sat there, veiled and swathed and turning her face 
away whenever 4. rare wandering passenger happened 
to pass along. Toward noon a man paused before her 
to light a cigarette. She, forgetting for the moment 
her precautions, looked at him. It chanced tha* he 
looked at her at exactly the same instant. Their 
glances met. He sUrted nervously, moved on a few 
steps, returned. Said she mockingly: 

" You know you needn't speak if you don't want to, 

"The*e isn't a soul on board that anybody ever 
knew or that ever knew anybody," said he. « So whv 
not? " •' 

" And you look horribly bored." 

" Unspeakably," replied Baird. « I've spoken to no 
one since I left Paris." 

" What are you doing on this ship? " inquired she. 

" To be perfectly honest," said he, « I came this way 
to avoid you. I was afraid you'd take passage on my 
steamer just to amuse yourself with my nervousness. 
And — here you are ! " 

" Amusing myself with your nervousness." 



vouW 1! °°* "'"°"'- '^'"'^ "» danger, 
you let „,e have a chair put be.ide your.?-' 

K w,U be . charity „„ y„„r part." ,aid .he. 

uneltL :" f-f"'"''';^ -"K he e,p,.i„«, hi. 
uneasmess. I ,ee I've got to tell you," .aid he « tnr 
I don't want you to think me a .houL J a., xt l\ 
;^-y ^fe want, to get a divo„e wTand tt.o'al 

^been jealou. o. ^^'^1:^-1 ^'int 
trouble, or to get you into trouble " • 

"No''o11"''""t! "' ^"^ ^*'^='"'" »«d Mild«d 
JNo one knows I'm aboard." 

Oh. I'm sure we're nuite safo «r 
rest df this voyage." ^"'*' "'^'- ^e can enjoy the 

intT^J,T T"- ""^"'y •'"'"•'^'' *'"' ''"■"pels a feel- 
ing of absolute detachment from the world To brth 

SUnky and Mildred their affairs-the diffic^tie t 

w -Ponsibiiities-fUr^trthrsir Ti 

uet^aTltlt d ^"^"V"'--'- - the necLat^^ 

E prteLriiT^a^rr '' *" "^"'^-^ °^ 

resource,. * meagerness of the 

As neither had the kind of mind that expand, in -K 
.tract^ons. they were soon talking in theTs^tl tJ 


and penonal way about thenuclves — were confosing 
thing! wh^h neither would have breathed to anyone 
on land. It was the man who set the example of break- 
ing through the barriers of conventional restraint — 
perhaps of delicacy, though it must be said that human 
beings are rarely so fine in their reticences as the theory 
of refinement would have us believe. Said Stanley, 
after the preliminaries of partial confidence and halting 
avowal that could not be omitted, even at sea, by a man 
of " gentlemanly instinct " : 

" I don't know why I shouldn't own up. I know 
you'll never tell anybody. I'act is, I and my wife were 
never in love with each other for a second. We married 
because '^e were in the same set and because our incomes 
together gave us enough to do the thing rather well." 
After a solemn pause. " I was in love with another 
woman — one I couldn't marry. But I'll not go into 
that. As for my wife, I don't think she was in love 
with anyone. She's as cold as a stone." 

Mildred smiled ironically. 

Baird saw and flushed. " At least, she was to me. 
I was ready to make a sort of bluiF. You see, a man 
feels guilty in those circumstances and doesn't want 
to humiliate a woman. But she — " he laughed un- 
pleasantly — " she wasn't bothering about my feelings. 
That's a nice, selfish little way you ladies have." 

" She probably saw through you and hated you for 
playing the hypocrite to her," said Mildred. 

" You may be right, I never thought of that," con- 
fessed he. " She certainly had a vicious way of ham- 
mering the other woman indirectly. Not that she ever 



admitted being jealou.. I guc». .he knew, 
body mually knows everything." 

«, ".."^"l^^tM^" " *^" *'• "^ *""' "bout you and 
me," laid Mildred placidly. 

den'in '"'^"'' "^ '' *'" ^°"'" P'"'*"'"'' *'*"''^' "■*- 

tw'^^.r","" '"''^ '^"'''■^■^''- "«""'t l^otl- about 
inat. It J) all past and gone." 

"Well at any rate, my marriage was the mistake of 
my l.fe. I m detennined that she shan't trip me up and 
tnm me for any alimony. And as n.atters stand, she 
can t. She left me of her own accord." 

"Then," said Mildred thoughtfully, "if the wife 
leave, of her own accord, she can't get alimony?" 
Certainly not — not a cent." 
"I supposed so," said she. « I'm not sure I'd take it 
Jf I could get it. Still, I suppose I would." She 
aughed. "What's the use of being a hypocrite with 
oneself? I know I would. All I could get." 
" Then you had no legal excuse for leaving? " 
«No" said she. "I- just bolted. I don't know 
what s to become of me. I seem not to care, at present, 
but no doubt I shall as soon as we sec land again." 
J You'll go back to him," said Stanley. 

what^v°e'r' "^''*^ '''*' ''"''°"* ^-nphasis or any accent " 

"Sure you will," rejoined he. "It's your living. 
What else can you do? " 

J '^f^J^"^ I °""t find out. Surely there's some- 
thing else for a wuman besides such a married life as 
mine. I can't and won't go back to my husband And 



I can't and won't go to the houie at Hanging Rock. 
Those two thingi are settled." 

"You mean that?" 

"Absolutely. And I've got — less than thrt: hun- 
dred and fifty dollars in the whole world." 

Baird was silent. He was roused from his abstrac- 
tion by gradual consciousness of an ironical smile on 
the face of the girl, for she did not look like a married 
woman. " You arc laughing at me. Why? " inquired 

" I was reading your thoughts." 

" You think you've frightened me? " 

" Naturally. Isn't a confession such as I made 
enough to frighten a man? It sounded as though I 
were getting ready to ask alms." 

" So it did," said he. " But I wasn't thinking oi it 
in that way. You mil be in a frightful fix pretty soon, 
won't you? " 

" It looks that way. But you need not be uneasy." 
. " Oh, I want to help you. I'll do everything I can. 
I was trying to think of somethin __ you could make 
money at. I was thinking of the stage, but I suppose 
you'd balk at that. I'll admit it isn't the life for a 
lady. But the same thing's true of whatever money 
can be made at. If I were you, I'd go back." 

" If I were myself, I'd go back," said Mildred. 
" But I'm not myself." 

" You will be again, as soon as you face the situa- 

" No," said she slowly, " no, I shall never be myself 
again." ^ 



"But you could have everything a woman wanU. 
Except, of courie — perhap* — But you never itnidc 
me ai being eipccially lentimenUl." 

Sentiment ha> nothing to do with it," rejoined the. 
" Do you think I could get a place on the atage? " 
" Oh, you'd have to itudy a while, I suppose." 
" But I can't afford that. If I could afford to study, 
I'd have my voice trained." 

Baird'g face lighted up with enthusiasm. " The very 
thing! " he cried. " You've got a voice, a grand-opera 
voice. I've heard lots of people say so, and it sounded 
that way to me. You must cultivate your voice." 

Mildred laughed. "Don't talk nonsense. Even I 
know that's nonsense. The lessons alone would cost 
thousands of dollars. And how could I live for the 
four or five years? " 

" You didn't let me finish," said Baird. " I was go- 
ing to say that when you get to New York you must 
go and have your voice passed on — by some impartial 
person. If that person says it's worth cultivating, why, 
I'm willing to back you — as a business proposition. 
I can afford to take the risk. So, you see, it's all per- 
fectly simple." 

He had spoken rapidly, with a covert suggestion, of 
fear lest she would rebuke him sharply for what she 
might regard as an impertinent offer. She surprised 
him by looking at him calmly, reflectively, and say- 

" Yes, you could afford it, couldn't you? " 
" I'm sure I could. And it's the sort of thing that's 
done every day. Of course, no one'd know that we had 
ISI ' 

■ i 





^1 J 

nmdo this littlo business arrangement. But that's easily 
managed. I'd be glad if you'd let me do it, Mildred. 
I'd like to feel that I was of some use in the world. 
And I'd like to do something for yoib." 

By way of exceedingly cautious experiment he ven- 
tured to put ever so slight an accent of tenderness upon 
the " you." He observed her furtively but nervously. 
He could not get a hint of what .was in her mind. She 
gazed out toward the rising and falling horizon Une. 
Presently she said: 
• " I'll think about it." 

" You must let me do it, Mildred. It's the sensible 
thing — and you know me well enough to know that 
my friendship can be counted on." 

" I'll think about it," was all she would concede. 
They discussed the singing career all that and the 
succeeding days — the possibilities, the hopes, the dan- 
geri — but the hopes a great deal more than the dan- 
gers. He became more and more interested in her and 
in the project,, as her beauty shone out with the tran- 
quillizing sea and as her old charm of cleverness at say- 
ing things that amused him reasserted itself. She, 
dubious and lukewarm at first, soon was trying to curb 
her own excited optimism ; but long before they sighted 
Sandy Hook she was merely pretending to hang back. 
He felt discouraged by her parting! « If I decide to 
go on, I'll write you in a few days." But he need not 
have felt so. She had made up her mind to accept his 
offer. As for the complications involved in such curi- 
ously intimate relations with a man of his temperar ient, 
habits, and inclinations, she saw them very vaguely in- 


deed -refused to permit h r-elf to see them any less 
vaguely cnoug' to deal --h complications 
when and as they aros, vhy necdh .sly and foolishly 
annoy herself and hamp.. her^^if? Said she to her- 
self, I must begin to be practical" 



I kJ: 

At the pier Mildred sent her mother a telegram, giv- 
ing the train by which she would arrive — that and 
nothing more. As she descended from the parlor-car 
there stood Mrs. Presbury upon the platform, face 
wreathe4 •" the most joyous of welcoming smiles, not 
a surface trace of the curiosity and alarm storming 
within. After they had kissed and embraced with a 
genuine emotion which they did not try to hide, because 
both suddenly became unconscious of that world whereof 
ordinarily they were constantly mindful — after caresses 
and tears Mrs. Presbury said : 

" It's all very well to dress plain, when everyone 
knows you can afford the best. But don't you think 
you're overdoing it a little.' " 

Mildred laughed somewhat nervously. "Wait till 
we're safe at home," said she. 

On the way up from the station in the carriage they 
chattered away in the liveliest fashion, to make the 
proper impression upon any observing Hanging- 
Rockers. " Luckily, Presbury's gone to town to-day," 
said his wife. " But really he's quite livable — hasn't 
gone back to his old ways. He doesn't know it, but 
he's rapidly growing deaf. He imagines that every- 
one is speaking more and more indistinctly, and he has 
lost interest in conversation. Then, too, he has done 


hult""^"" ^''''*' ""'' *'"'* '""' P"* •""" '" " «""'' 

1.*','^"!.'" "°* ''* '""prised to see me — alone," said 

« Wait till we're home," said her mother nervously 
At the house Mrs. Presbury carried on a foolish, 
false-sounding conversation for the benefit of the serv- 
ants, and finally conducted Mildred to her bedroom and 
shut doors and drew portieres and glanced into closets 
before saymg: "Now, what U the matter, Millie? 
Where is your husband? " 

1 t u" ^°"*' ^ '"PP"'*'" replied Mildred. « I have 
left him, and I shall never go back." 

.•rTt!!'-^'^ f^ ^°" ''°""'" """J her mother. 

But I didn't beUeve it. I don't believe it. I brought 
you up to do your duty, and I know you will " 

This was Mildred's first opportunity for frank and 
plam speaking; and that is highly conducive to frank 
and plain thinking. She now began to see clearly why 
she had quit the general. Said she: « Mamma, to be 
honest and not mince words, I've left him because there's 
nothing in it." 

" Isn't he rich? » inquired her mother. « I've always 
had a kind of present — " 

•'Oh, he's rich, aU right," interrupted the girl. 
But he saw to it that I got no benefit from that." 

thin^"' ^°" ^'"^^ "" ^'"' ^^ ^"^ ''^^'"« y°" '^^"y- 

;„ '',f° I ^^T^^- '" ^'"=* h*^ ^'^ buying me noth- 
>»g. And she went on to explain the general's system. 
Her mother listened impatiently. She would have in- 

I Ml 



tcrrupted the long and angry recital many times had 
not Mildred insisted on a full hearing of her griev- 
ances, of the outrages that had been heaped upon her. 
" And," she ended, " I suppose he's got it so arranged 
that he could have me arrested as a thief for taking the 
gold bag." 

"Yes, it's terrible and all that," said her mother. 
" But I should have thought living with me here when 
Presbury was carrying on so dreadfully would have 
taught you something. Your case isn't an exception, 
an;- more than mine is. That's the sort of thing wc 
women have to put up with from men, when we're in 
their power." 

"Not I," said Mildred loftily. 
"Yes, you," retorted her mother. "Any woman. 
Every woman. Unless we have money of our own, we all 
have trouble with the men about money, sooner or later, 
in one way or another. And rich men ! — why, it's noto- 
rious that they're always more or less mean about money. 
A wife has got t-. use tact. Why, I even had to use 
lome tact with your father, and he was as generous a 
man as ever lived. Tact — that's a woman's whole life. 
You ought to have used tact. You'll go back to him 
and use tact." 

"You don't know him, mamma!" cried Mildred. 
" He's a monster. He isn't human." 

Ut^. Presbury drew a long face and said in a sad, 
soothing voice: "Yes, I know, dear. Men are very, 
very awful, in some ways, to a nice woman — with re- 
fined, ladylike instincts. It's a great shock to a 
pure — " 



" Oh, • gammon ! " interrupted Mildred. "Don't be 
siUy, mother. It isn't worth while for one woman to 
talk that kind of thing to another. I didn't fully know 
what I was doing when I married a man I didn't love 
— a man who was almost repulsive to me. But I knew 
enough. And I was getting along well enough, as any 
woman does, no matter what she may say — yes you 
needn't look shocked, for that's hypocrisy, and I know 
It now — But, as I was saying, I didn't begin to hate 
him until he tried to make a slave of me. A slave'" 
she shuddered. « He's a monster ! " 

" A httle tact, and you can get everything you want," 
insisted her mother. 

^^ " I tell you, you don't know the man," cried Mildred. 
' By tact I suppose you mean I could have sold things 
behindhisback — and all that." She laughed. "He 
hasn't got any back. He had it so arranged that those 
cold, wicked eyes of his were always watching me His 
second wife tried ' tact.' He caught her and drove her 
into the streets. I'd have had no chance to get a cenl/, 
and if I had gotten it I'd not have dared spend it. Do 
you imagine I ran away from him without having 
thought? If there'd been any way of staying on, any 
way of making things even endurable, I'd have 

" ^"* yo^'v*^ got to. go back, Milly," cried her 
mother, in tears. 

"You mean that you can't support me?" 

"And your brother Frank—" Mrs. Presbuiy's 

eyes flashed and her rather stout cheeks quivered « I 

never thought I'd teU anybody-, but I'll tell you. I 



never liked your brother Frank, and he never liked me. 
That sounds dreadful, doesn't it? " 

"No, mother dear," said Mildred gently. "I've 
learned that life isn't at all as — as everybody pre- 

" Indeed it isn't," said her mother. " Mothers always 
have favorites among their children, and very often a 
mother dislikes one of her children. Of course she 
hides her feeling and docs her duty. But all the same 
she can't help the feeling that is down in her heart. I 
had a presentiment before he was bom that I wouldn't 
like him, and sure enough, I didn't. And he didn't like 
me, or his father, or any of us." 

" It would never occur to me to .turn to him," said 

" Then you see that you've got to go back to the 
general. You can't get a divorce and alimony, for it 
was you that left him — and for no cause. He was 
within his rights." 

Mildred hesitated, confessed: «I had thought of 
going back to him and acting in such a way that he'd 
be glad to give me a divorce and an allowance." 

"Yes, you might do that," said her mother. "A 
great many women do. And, after all, haven't they a 
right to? A lady has got to have proper support, and 
is it just to ask her to live with' a man she loathes? " 

" I haven't thought of the right or wrong of it," said 
Mildred. " It looks to me as though right and wrong 
have very little to do with life as it's lived. They're for 
hypocrites — and fools." 

"Mildred!" exclaimed her mother, deeply shocked. 

1 ^' / 


Mildred was not a little shocked at her own thoughts 
as she inspected them i.i the full light into which speech 
had dragged them. « Anyhow," she went on, « I soon 
saw that such a plan was hopeless. He> not the man to 
be trifled with. Long before I could drive him to give 
me a living and let me go he would have driven me to 
flight or suicide." 

Her mother had now had time to reflect upon Mildred'* 
revelations. Aided by the impressions she herself had 
gotten of the little general, she began to understand why 
her daughter had fled and why she would not return. 
She felt that the situation was one which time alone 
could solve. Said she: "Well, the best thing is for 
you to stay on here and wait until he makes some 

"He'll have me watched — that's eM he'll do," said 
Mildred. « When he gets ready he'll divorce me for 
deserting him." 

Mrs. Presbury felt that she was right. But, con- 
cealing her despondency, she said: "All we can do 
is to wait and see. You must send for your luggage." 

" I've nothing but a large bag," said Mildred. « I 
checked it in the parcel-room of the New York station." 

Mrs. Presbury was overwhelmed. How account to 
Hanging Rock for the reappearance of a baggageless 
and husbandless bride? But she held up bravely. 
With a cheerfulness that did credit to her heart and 
showed how welfshe loved her daughter she said: "We 
must do the best we can. We'll get up some story." 

"No," said Mildred. " Pm going back to New 
York. You can tell people here what you please — 






!*- -I 

that I've gone to rejoin him or to wait for him any 

old thing." 

"At least you'll wait and talk with Presbury," 
pleaded her mother. " He is iiery sensible." 

" If he has anything to suggest," said Mildred, " he 
can write it. I'll Send you my address." 
^^ " Milly," cried her mother, agitated to the depths, 
"where are you going? What are you going to do? 
You look so strange — not at all like yourself." 

"I'm going to a hotel to-night — probably to a 
boarding-house to-morrow," said Mildred. " In a tew 
days I shall begin to — " she hesitated, decided against 
confidence — " begin to support myself at something or 

"You must be crazy!" cried her mother. "You 
wouldn't do anything — and you couldn't." 

"Let's not discuss it, mamma," said the girl tran- 

The mother looked at her with eyes full of the sus- 
picion one lady cannot but have as to the projects of 
another lady in such circumstances. 

" Mildred," she said pleadingly, « you must be care- 
ful. You'll find yourself involved in a dreadful scandal. 
I know you wouldn't do anything wrong no matter how 
you were driven. But — " 

" I'll not do anything foolish, mamma," interrupted 
the girl. « You are thinking about men, 'aren't you? " 

"Men are always ready to destroy a woman," said 
her mother. " You must be careful — " 

Mildred was laughing. « Oh, mamma," she cried, « do 
be sensible and do give me credit for a little sense. I've 


got a very clear idea of what a woman ought to do 
about men, and I assure vou Fm not going to be foolUh. 
And you know a woman who isn't foolish can be trusted 
where a woman who's only protected by her principles 
would y,eld to the first temptation - or'hunt round fo 
a temptation." 

"But you_ simply can't go to New York and live 
there all alone — and with nothing!" 

" Can I stay here — for more than a few days? " 
moth!"* ""'^'^' """ ° ^"^ '^^"~" "'""■■""^d her 
" You sec, I've got to begin," said Mildred. « So 
why delay? I'd g«i„ nothing. I'd simply start Hang- 
ing Rock to gossiping -and start Mr. Presbury To 
actmg like a fiend again." 

Her mother refused to be convinced - was the firm-^r. 
perhaps, because she saw tl.U Mildred was unshakable 
m her resolve to leave forthwith - the obviously sensible 

of Mddred's three hours' stop in arguing- when Mil- 
dred was not ragmg against the little geneml. Her 
mother was more than willing to assist her in this de- 
nunciation, but Mildred preferred to do it all herself. 
She had -perhaps by unconsciously absorbed training 
from her lawyer father -an unusual degree of ability 
see both sides of a question. When she assailed her 
msband she saw only her own side; but somehow when 
her mother railed and raved, she began to see another 
side -and the sight was not agreeable. She wished 
to feel that her husband was altogether in the wrong; 
.^l.c did not wish to have intruded upon her such farts 



:i I 

? 1 

i 1 


«« that .he had wid herself to him -quite in the cu.- 
toinary way of ladic, but neverthele.. quite , 
— or that m strict justice she had done nothing for him 
to entitle her to a liberal money allowance or any allow- 
ance at all. ' 

On the train, going back to New York, she admitted 
to herself that the repulsive little general had held 
strictly to the term, of the bargain -" but only a devil 
and one w,th not a single gentlemanly instinct would 
insist on such a bargain." It took away much of the 
shame, and all of the sting, of despising herself to feel 
that she was looking still lower when she turned to 
despising him. 

To edge out li.e little general she began to think of 
her mother, but as she passed in review what her mother 
had said ana how she had said it she saw that for all 
the protests and arguing, her mother was more than 
resigned to her departure. Mildred felt no bitterness- 
ever since she could remember her mother had been a 
shifter of responsibility. Still, to stare into the face 
of so disagreeable a fact as that one had no place 
on earth to go to. no one on earth to turn to. not even 
ones own mother -to stare on at that grimacing ugli- 
ness did not tend to cheerfulness. Mildred tried to 
thmk of the future -but how could she think of some- 
thing that was nothing? She knew that she would go 
on. somehow, m some direction, but by no effort of 
her imagination could she picture it. She was so im- 
pressed by the necessity of considering the future that 
to rouse herself, she tried to frighten herself with pic- 
tures of poverty and misery, of herself a derelict in the 


hu„«^ I K < n °' ''•'' y''"'-P"'«'P» in rags, 
hungry. ,1J, but .11 Jn She did not believe it 

71 '^: ''"' ^ ^'""'y *" """ -"d to oat. .^i 
comrort.ble .urrounding.. she could no .ore think 
of her.elf .. w.thout tho.e thing, than a living person 
can imagine himself dead. 

"I'm a fool." she said to herself. «r™ certain to 
get in o ,„ ,„rts of trouble. How can it be otherwise^ 
when I ve no money, no friends, no experience, no way 

of X Th rf ~"° '"'""' -«y-perhaps no way 
of the other kind, either?" There are many women 

that 7lr '''" T'^ "="'='' ^•'""- ^y '«-^-« 

that ,f they were ,o disposed they need only flutter an 
eyehd to have men by the legion striving for their favors. 

Z) T'^t "° r^ '^'^""°'"'- «" "--d happened 
no to be of that chastely licentious caste which contin- 

She could ^ot understand her own indifference about 
the future. She did not realize that it was wholly due 
to Stanley Ba.rd's offer. She was imagining she was 
regarcLng th,t offer as something she mighf po Lily 
eons,d but probably would not. She dfd no't k ow 
that her soul had seized upon it. had enfolded it and 
would on no account let it gc. It is the habit of our 
^cret selves thus to make decisions and await their own 
good time for making us acquainted with them. 

With her bag on the seat beside her she set out to 
find a temporary lodging. Not until several hotels had 
refused her admittance on the pretext that they were 


I I' 

full up " d,d .he reali« that . young woman .lone i, 
•n object of ,u»picio„ in New York. When a fourth 
room-clerk expre.«Kl hi. polite «greU .he looked him 
«traight m the cjre and .aid: 

«Iunder.tand. But I can't .leep in the .treet. You 
must tell me where I can go." 

"Well, there', the Ripon over in Seventh Avenue," 
»aid he. 

" I. it re.pcctablc? " .aid .he. 

..'i'?^/? ""^ ''""*" '"•' «»"''«'rt«ble there." «id he. 
They'll treat you right." 

" I. it respectable? " .aid .he. 

" ^ell. now, it doe.n't look queer, if that', what you 
mean rephed he. « You'll do very nicely there. You 
can be just a. quiet a. you want." 

She saw that hotel New York would not believe her 
rospoctable. So to the Ripon she went, and was admit- 
ted without discussion. As the last respectable clerk 
had sa.d. It did not look queer. But it felt queer; she 
resolved that .he would go into a boarding-house the 
very next day. 

Here again what seemed .imple proved difficult. No 
respectable boarding-house would have Miss Mary 
Stevens. She was confident that nothing in her dress 
or manner hinted mystery. Yet those .harp-eyed land- 
ladies seemed to know at once that there was something, 
pecuhar about her. Most of them became rude the in" 
stant they set eyes upon her. A few - of the obviously 
ess prosperous class -talked with her, seemed to i;^ 
.stenmg for something which her failing to say decided 
them upon aU but ordering her out of the house. She 


.he could not hope for ud,„l,Hi.,„ l„ „,.^ „,k„, .f .,,,. 
||be crclc. even of hi«„.,K ».,e.ludics ..„,. .,erk,. 
unle.. .he gave a free and clear account of herself - 
whence .he had come, what «he w„, doing, how nhe got 
Her mone^. " 

humdu .„g «..a,H. Hhe found a house that would ad.nit 
her. It wa, „ pretentious. well-fur„i,hed big h„u,o in 
Mad.,on Avnue. The price - thirt,-five ^dollar., a 
week for board, a bedr™,„, with a fol.ling bed i„ „n 
alcove, and a bath. wa. more than double what she Imd 
counted on paying, but .he discovered that decent an.l 
clean, „nd food fit to eat were not to be had 

Z "'tm K^"*^ \ ""'"'^ ^""'' '''■' P!«-f-''ion." -irf 
\ V ,., "" ^'^""^'^^ th"' I could do nothing. I 
cant live hke a wild animal, and I won't." She had 
some vague notion _ foreboding- that this w„, not 
the proper sp.rit with which to face life. " I s«pp„,e 

down 111 go down with my color, flying." She did 
not know preci.ely what that phrase meant, but it 
»ounded fine and brave and heartened her to take the 
expensive lodgings. 

t 'T'a '°.u''l!"'^ ""' " ^*"- ^'="°'=- Mildred had not 
alked her twenty minute, before she had a feeling 
that this name was assumed. The evening of her first 
day .n the house she learned that her^guess was correct 
-learned it from the landlady herself. After dinner 
Mrs. Belloc came into her room to cheer her up, to find 
out about her and to tell her about herself. 


"Now that you've come," .aid she, "the house is 
full up -except some little rooms at the top that I'd 

who w 1?.? ^""^ P'""''''""*"''' "- *•'-* -y ^^^ 
who would take them wouldn't be refined enough to suit 

those I have. There are si:., not counting me, every 
one w,th a bath and two with private parlors, ^nd as 

f ,," "VT'''"'"^' »""■''''« '^"'"^n. ladylike and 
steady, I thmk the prospects are that they'll pav 
promptly and that I won't have any trouble." 

Mildred reflected upon this curious statement. It 
sounded innocent enough, yet what a peculiar way to 
put a simple fact. 

« Of course it's non^ of my business how people live 
as long as they keep up the respectabilities," pursued 

New York. Most of 'em come here because they want 
to live as they please." 

« No doubt," said Mildred a little nervously, for she 
suspected her landlady of hitting at her, and';;o„dered 
If she had come to cross-examine her and, if the results 
were not satisfactory, to put her into the street. 

B.l. «T ' """"' ^•"" *'"'* "'^°"'" P""«ed Mrs. 
Be loc. I was a school-teacher up in New England 

s?h^oi;» ° '"" ""'■ ""'' ^°" -" *-'' 

"Not yet," said Mildred. " And I don't think I ever 
sliaU. I don't know enou^.» 

J'?'^"' ^°" ^°- ^ *'"•'" ''°^''"'* ^^ to know 

t^l* t7 ,f • *^'' '^°"'* ^"P"^ y- *° ''now any- 
thing. It's all in the books. I left because I couldn't 


«dure the We Lord! how duU those UtUe town, «.. 
Ever Lve m a little town? » 

« All mjrUfe" said Mildred. 
" Well, you'll never go back." 
" I hope not." 

"That's good news," said Mildred. She beaan to 
hke the landlady-not for what she said, but Sth: 
ftee and frank and f riendjy way of the saying - a 
hu^an way a comradely way, a live-and-let-live w!y. 
„u » ". "'T^' ^^^ ^''^ England without a strug- 
£; shThlTt .''"• ^^"'"' ^''° -- P'"-'^ "howTng 
«I sui r " r"* '""""^ *° "^"y Stevens." 
I suppose It was hard to save the money out of 
your salary," said Mildred. ^ 

oult ^'u T '''"^''''^- ^''^ ^"^ "^""t thirty-five years 
old though her eyes and her figure were youngerVa^ 

Id never have succeeded that way. I'd be there yet. 
I had never marned-had two or three chances, but 

!S .. r ! ""^'"'^ «'"'"« °''^- I '^■^^ looking y^rs 
older than I do now. Talk about sea air for fresh!nLg a 

Heri" t"he7'* "".' '" '* "'''' ^''^ "'' °^ ^ew York 
«eres the town where women stay young. If I had 

c<^e here five years ago I couid a Jost^ry L t" sib 



: 1 

I \ % 


"Squab class?" queried Mildred. 

"Yes, squabs. Don't you see them around every- 
where?— the women dressed like girls of sixteen to 
•eighteen — and some of them are that, and younger. 
They go hopping and laughing about — and they seem 
to please the men and to have no end of a good time. 
Especially the oldish men. Oh, yes, you know a squab 
on sight — tight skirt, lo* shoes and silk stockings, 
cute pretty face, always laughing, hat set on rakishly 
and hair done to match, and always a big purse or 
bag — with a yellow-back or so in it — as a kind of a 
hint, I guess." 

Mildred had seen squabs. « I've envied them — in a 
way," said she. " Their parents seem to let them do 
about as they please." 

" Their parents don't know — or don't care. Some- 
times it's one, sometimes the other. They travel in two 
sets, One is where they meet young fellows of* their 
own class — the kind they'll probably marry, unless 
they happen to draw the capital prize. The other set 
■they travel in — well, it's the older men they meet round 
the swell hotels and so on — the yellow-back men." 

" How queer! " exclaimed Mildred, before whose eyes 
a new world was opening. « But how do they — these 
— squabs — account for the money?" 

" How do a thousand and one women in this funny 
town account at home for money and things? " retorted 
Mrs. Belloc. « Nothing's easier. For instance, often 
these squabs do — or pretend to do — a little something 
in the way of work — a little canvassing or artists' 
model or anything you -please. That helps them to 


explain at home — and also to make each of the yellow- 
back men think he's the only one and that he's being 
almost loved for himself alone." 

Mrs. Belloc laughed. Mildred was too astonished 
to laugh, and too interested — and too startled or 

"But I was telling you how / got down here," con- 
tinued the kndlady. « Up in my town there was an 
old man — about seventy-five — close as the bark on 
a tret, and ugly and mean." She paused to draw a 
long breath and to shake her head angrily yet tri- 
umphantly at some figure her fancy conjured up. 
"Oh, he was a pup! — and is! Well, anyhow, I de- 
cided that I'd marry him. So I wrote home for fifty 
dollars. I borrowed another fifty here and there. I 
liad seventy-five saved up against sickness. I went up 
to Boston and laid it all out in underclothes and house 
things — not showy but fine and good to look at. Then 
one day, when the weather was fine and I knew the old 
man would be out in his buggy driving round — I 
dressed myself up to beat the band. I took hours to 
It — scrubbing, powdering, sacheting, perfuming, 
fixing the hair, fixing my finger-nails, fixing up my feet, 
pohshing every nail and making them look better than 
most hands." 

Mildred was so interested that she was excited. What 
strange freak was coming? 

" You never could guess," pursued Mrs. BeUpc, com- 
placently. « I took my sunshade and went out, all got 
up to kill. And I walked along the road until I saw 
the old man's buggy coming with him in it. Then I 


gave my ankle a frightful wrench. My! How it 

.,,!1^"* " P'*^'" ^'^ **''^d sympathetically. 
"What a shame!" ' 

"A pity? A shame?" cried Mrs. Belloe, laughing. 
Why, my dear, I did it a-purpose." 
"On purpose!" exclaimed Mildred. 
"Certainly. That was my game. J screamed out 
with pam — and the scream was no fake, I can tell 
you. And I fell down by the roadside on a nice grassy 
spot, where no dust would get on me. Well, up comes 
the old skinflint in his buggy. He climbed down and 
helped me get off my slipper and stocking. I knew 
I had him the minute I saw his old face looking at that 
foot I had fixed up so beautifully." 

« How did you ever think of it? " exclaimed Mildred. 
Go and teach school for ten years in a dull litUe 
town, my dear — and look in the glass every day and 
see your youth fa^ding away _ and you'll think of most 
anything. Well, to make a long story short, the old 
man took me in the buggy to his house where he lived 
with his deaf, half-blind old widowed daughter. I had 
to stay there three weeks. I married him the fourth 
week. And just two months to a day from the after- 
noon I sprained my ankle, he gave me fifty dollars a 
week — all signed and sealed by a lawyer — to go away 
and leave him alone. I might have stood out for more, 
but I was too anxious to get to New York. And here' 
I am!" She gazed about the w.=ll-furnished room, 
typical of that almost luxurious house, with an air of 
triumphant satisfaction. Said she: "I've no patience 


with a woman who says she can't get on. Where's her 
brains? " 

Mildred was silent. Perhaps it was a feeling of what 
was hazily in the younger woman's mind and a desire 
to answer it that led Mrs. Belloc to say further: «I 
suppose there's some that would criticize my way of 
getting there. But I want to know, don't all women 
get there by working men? Only most of them are so 
stupid that they have to go on living with the man. 
I think It's low to live with a man you hate." 
''Oh, I'm not criticizing anybody," said Mildred. 
" I didn't think you were," said Mrs. Belloc. « If 
I hadn't seen you weren't that kind, I'd not have been 
so confidential. Not that I'm secretive with anybody. 
I say and do what I please. Anyone who doesn't like 
my way or me can take the other side of the street 
I didn't come to New York to go in society. I came 
here to live." 

Mildred looked at her admiringly. There were 
things about Mrs. Belloc that she did not admi. ,; other 
things — suspected rather than known things — that 
she knew she would shrink from, but she heartily ad- 
mired and profoundly envied her utter indifference to 
the opinion of others, her fine independent way of 
walking her own path at her own gait. 
^^ " I took this boarding-house," Mrs. Bdloc went on, 
" because I didn't want to be lonesome. I don't like' 
all — or even most of — the ladies that Uve here But 
they're all amusing to talk with — and don't put on 
airs except with their men friends. And one or two 
are the real thing — good-hearted, fond of a joke, with- 
141 ^ 


oui any meanness. I teU you, New York is a mighty 
fine place if you get 'in right.' Of course, if you 
don't, it's h-e-1-1." (Mrs. Belloc took off its unrefined 
edge by spelling it.) "But what place isn't?" she 

"And your husband never bothers vou.'" inauired 

" And never will," replied Mrs. Belloc. " When he 
dies I'll come into a little more — about a hundred and 
fifty a week in all. Not a fortune, but enough with 
what the boarding-house brings in. I'm a pretty fair 
business woman." > 

" I should say so ! " exclaimed Mildred. 
11 L " You said you were Miss Stevens, didn't you? " said 

Mrs. Belloc — and Mildred knew that her turn had 

"Yes," replied she. "But I am also a married 
woman." She hesitated, reddened. « I didn't give you 
my married name." 

" That's your own business," said Mrs. Belloc in her 
easiest manner. " My right name isn't Belloc, either. 
But I've dropped that other life. You needn't feel a 
bit embarrassed in this house. Some of my boarders 
seem to be married. All that have regulai^appearing 
husbands say they are. What do I care, so long as 
everything goes along smoothly? I don't get excited 
about trifles." 

" Some day perhaps Til tell you about myself," ^a.{A 
Mildred. "Just at present I — well, I seem not to 
be able to talk about things." 

" It's not a bad idea to keep your mouth shut, as 


long as 3:our affairs arc unsettled," advised Mrs. BcUoc 
I can see you've had little experience. But you'll 
con,e out aU right. Just keep cool, and don't fre 
- out i^^ And don't let any „an .ake a fool oj 

of men W ' T/T ''°™" ^"^ '""• ^e're afraid 
ther ; •7%"''=''" * ^- We can mighty easily make 
th m afraid of us Use the soft hand till you get him 
weU ,n your grip. Then the firm hand Nothing 
coarse or cruel or mean. But firm and self-respecting" 
M.ldred was tempted to take Mrs. Belloc fully into 
her confidence and get the benefit of the advice of 
shrewdness and experience. So strong was the temp- 
tation, she would have yielded to" it had Mrs. Belloc 
asked a few tactful, penetrating questions. But Mrs 
Belloc reframed, and Mildred's timidity or delicacy in- 
duced her to postpone The next day she wrote Stanley 
Ba.rd g,vmg her address and her name and asking him 

that he would come on the following day, but the letter 
happened to reach him within an hour of her mailing 
It, and he came that very afternoon. 

bJsr f ' ?!!• ^°^ *° '^' drawing-room to receive 
him, she found him standing in the middle of the room 
gazmg about with a quizzical expression. As soon as 
the greetmgs were over he said: 
do.»^°" must get out of here, Mildred. This won't 

"Indeed I shan't," said she. "I've looked every- 
where, and th.s is the only comfortable place I could 

landlady d.dn't have her nose in everybody's business." 


" You don't understand," said he. « This ii a bird- 
cage. Highly gilded, but a bird-cage." 

She had never heard the phrase, but she understood — 
and instantly she knew that he was right. She colored 
violently, sat down abruptly. But in a moment she 
recovered herself, and with fine defiance said: 

« I don't care. Mrs. Belloc is a kind-hearted woman, 
and it's as easy to be respectable here as anywhere." 

" Sure," assented he. " But you've got to consider 
appearances to a certain extent. You won't be able to 
find the right sort of a boarding-house — one you'd be 
comfortable in. You'ye got to have a flat of your 

" I can't afford it," said Mildred. « I can't afford 
this, even. But I simply will not live in a shabuy, 
mussy way." 

"That's right!" cried StaAley. "You can't do 
proper work in poor surroundings. Some women 
could, but not your sort. But don't worry. I'm going 
to see you through. I'll find a place — right away. 
You want to start in at once, don't you? " 

"I've got to," said Mildred. 

"Then leave it all to me." 

" But what am I to do? " • ' 

" Sing, if you can. If not, then act. We'll have 
you on the stage within a year or so. I'm sure of it. 
And I'll get my money back, with interest." 

■■ see how I can accept it," said Mildred 


" You've got to," said Stanley, 
is there? None. So let's bother 

I very 

« What alternative 
no more about it. 


rU -consult with tho.e who know, find out what the thing 
CO.U. -d arrange everything. You're a. helple.. a^f 
baby, and you know it." 

Ye«, Mildred knew it. 

He looked at her with an amu.ed .mile. "Come 

ft It way..' ''' '''''''''' ^t^-ight-andfeep 

Mildred hung her head. 

" You're uneasy because I, a man, am doing this for 
J'ou, a young woman? Is that it? " '"« ^his for 

' Yes," she confessed. 

He leaned back in his chair, crossed his legs and 

I right? » ''" " "° °"^ ""^'""^ »»•* ™«? ^ 

She nodded. 

, " * '"«"=' '^ ever there was logic. A Philadelnl,;. 
lawyer couldn't knock a hole in it. ^Y„„ tu!t ttt't 

She was silent. 

"wJrJr'' '""1 ""*' ""'"•" '«^'' '"' 'Cheerfully. 

She moved restlessly, but remained silent 
tion? »" "' "'"■' ' ■"'■«'' P"* y- ■■" <• difficult posi- 



" You fear that I expect »onie return which yoil do 
not intend to give? " 

She was ailent. 

"Well, I don't," said he bluntly. "So put your 
mind at rest. Some day I'll tell you why I am doing 
this, but I want you to feel that I ask nothing of you 
but my money back with interest, when you can afford 
to pay." 

" I can't feel that," said she. " You're putting mc 
in your debt — so heavily that I'd feel I ought to pay 
anything you asked. But I couldn't and wouldn't 

•' Unless you felt like it? " suggested he. 

" It's honest for me to warn you that I'm not likely 
to feel that way." 

" There is such a thing as winning a woman's love, 
isn't there?" said he jestingly. It was difficult to tell 
wlicn Stanley Baird was jesting and when he was in 

"Is that what you expect?" said she gravely. 

" If I say yes? " 

She lowered her eyes and laughed in an embarrassed 

He was frankly amused. "You see, you feel that 
you're in my power. And you are. So why not make 
the best of it?" A pause, then he said abruptly and 
with a convincing nanliness, "I think, Mildred, you 
can trust me not to be a beast." 

She colored and looked at him with quick contrition. 
" I'm ashamed of myself," said she. « Please forget 
that I said anything. I'll take what I must, and I'll 


pay It back as soon as I can. And — thank you, Stan- 
ley." The tears were in her eyes. " If I had anything 
worth your taking I'd be glad to give it to you. What 
vain fools we women ore ! " 

' Aren't 

I though! 

- - =' laughed he. "And now it's 
all settled — until you're on the stage, and free, and 
the money's paid back — wi/A interest. I shall charge 
you six per cent." 

When she first knew him she had not been in the least 
impressed by what now seemed to her his finest and 
rarest trait, for, in those days she had been as ignorant 
of the realities of human nature as one who has never 
adventured his boat beyond the mouth of the peaceful 
land-locked harbor is ignorant of the open sea. But 
in the hard years she had been learning — not only 
from Presbury and General Siddall, but from the cook 
and the housemaid, from every creditor, every trades- 
Hjan, everyone whose attitude socially toward her had 
been modified by her changed fortunes — and whose 
attitude had not been changed? Thus, she was now 
able to appreciate — at least in some measure — Stan- 
ley Baird's delicacy and tact. No, not delicacy and 
tact, for that implied effort. His ability to put this 
offer in such a way that she could accept without serious 
embarrassment arose from a genuine indifference to 
money as money, a habit of looking upon it simply 
as a means to an end. He offered her the money pre- 
cisely as he would have offered her his superior strength 
if it had been necessary to cross a too deep and swift 
creek. She had the sense that he felt he was doing 
something even less notable than he admitted, and that 


h. Ulked of it .. . valuable .„d rather unu.ual «rvic. 
«mpjy^ becau^ ,t wa. the habit thu. to regard .uch 

A. they talked on of "the great career" her .pirit. 
went up and „p. ft wa. evident that he now had a 
new and keen intere.t in life, that ,he wa. doing him 
a greater favor than he w„ doing her. He had alway, 
had money, plenty of it, more than he could u.e. He 
now had rnor* than ever -for. .overal rich «lative. 
had died and. after the habit of the rich, had left every- 
Uimg o hun. the one of aU the connection, who needed 
« lea,t. He had a very human aversion to .pending 
money upon people or thing, he did not like. He 
would have fought to the last court an attempt by hi. 
w.fe to get ahmony. He had a reputation with the 
chanty gang of being .tingy because he would not them .o much a. the price of a bazaar ticket. 
AUo, the .tnpecuniou. spongers at hi. clubs spread hi, 
fame a. a «t.ght-wad" becau.e he refu.ed to leC them 
.tick h,m up » for even a round of drinks. Where 
many a really stingy man yielded through weakne.. 

notable surrender of any kind had been his marriage; 
that bitter experience had cured him of the surrender- 
ing \f *'™- ^•'«°''«f<'rth he did absolutely 
and in everythmg as he pleased. 

She had all but forgotten it, because her own experi- 
ence with him had made such a charge seem ridicuLs. 
She now assumed- so far as she thought about it at 
aU-that he was extremely generous. She did not 


or how .tnkmg an evidence of hi. belief i„ h*r «. wel 
«» of hit liking for her. 
A. he row to go he «ud: " You't forget thit 

TJdnTT^' ' '""' »"*•"" - N«^" of 
us can afford to have anyone know it." 

"There isn't anyone in the world who wouldn't mi.- 

e:£rsL:;: "^ •^'' "*^-* *^^ '- -«- - 

"Just .o,'> said he. "And I want you to live in 
.uch a way that I can come to call. We m„.t .r«n« 
thing, ,0 that you will take your own name-" '^ 

workVrttL^Ied"^ ""-^ ^'-^ «-- ■- -y 

tol^st^^^^itz:!^"'-"''— '- 

This time the interruption was her expression. He 
turned to see what had .Urtled her. .n5 .aw i„ the 
doorway of the drawing-room the grotesquely neat and 
S^'Z:^' ''-''''' '^--^ Before efther could 

I arvTuf^r '"' **'; ^""'' ^•"''" P"''"" "»« >^ 
1 ask you to leave me alone with my vife." 

Stanley met the situation with perfect coolness. 

How are you, General?" said he. "Certainly I 

was just going." He extended his hand to Mildr'ed, 

"Then v' T^T 'T "^ ™°^*"«'»"'l friendliness, 
Then you'll let me know when you're settled? » He 
bowed moved toward the door, shook hands with tne 
general, and passed out, giving from start to finish a 
model example of « man of the world extricating him- 


B i,V 

self from an impossible situation and leaving it the 
better for his having been entangled. To a man of 
Siddall'g incessant and clumsy self-consciousness such 
maffected ease could not but be proof positive of Mil- 
dred's innocence — unless he had overheard. And his 
first words convinced her that he had not. Said he: 
" So you sent for your old -admirer? " 
" I ran across him accidentally," replied Mildred. 
" I know," said the little general. " My men picked 
you up at the pier and haven't lost sight of you since. 
It's fortunate that I've kept myself informed, or I 
might have misunderstood that chap's being here." A 
queer, cloudy look came into his eyes. " I must give 
him a warning for safety's sake." He waved his hand 
in dismissal of such an unimportant trifle as the acci- 
dental Baird. He went on, his wicked eyes bent coldly 
and duDy upon her: "Do you know what kind of a 
house this is?" 

"Stanley Baird urged me to leavej" replied she. 
" But I shall stay until I find a better — and that's not 

" Yes, my men have reported to me on the difficul- 
ties you've had. It was certainly fortunate for you 
that I had them look after you. Otherwise I'd never 
have understood your landing in this sort of a house. 
You are ready to come with me? " 

"Your secretary explained that if I.left the hotel 
it was the end." 

" He told you that by ray orders." 

" So he explained," said Mildred. She seated herself, 
overcome by a sudden lassitude that was accompanied 


rlXSw'r J' '"'f """• " ^°"'* ^- -^ down? 
^ , "*^ *" ''"'"■ *hat you have to say." 

thaf he Sfr:,'' "'r *° ^•*' '^"^ - -'"-hod 
that he stnugh ened and stiffened himself. »I„ eon- 

I have gone farther than I ever intended. I have taken 
.nto cons^eration your youth and incxperiencj" 
But I am not going back," said Mildred. 
The httle general slowly seated himself. « You have 
less «.n two hundred and fifty dol.a. left." said t: 
., f f"^^ Y""'- «P'es know better than I » 
I have seen Presbury. He assures me that in no 
c.r.^msta„ee, will he and your mother take y^ blck " 

" As for your brother » 

« I have no brother," said she coldly. 
'Then you are coming back with me." 
No." said Mildred. " I should "- she cast about 
for^an alternative -« I should stay on het 

The little general -his neat varnished leather and 
be-spatted shoes just touched the floor - examined h"s 
%h y„P; .shed top-hat at several angles. FiZty h 
^«.d. You need not fear that your misconduct will 
be remembered against you. I shall treat you in ever 
way as my wife. I shaU assume that your-y 2 
flight was an impulse that you regret » 

"I shan't go back." said Mildred. "Nothing vou 
could ofl-er would change me." ^ ^ 

"I cannot make any immediate concession on the — 


the matter that caused jou to go," pursued he, as if 
she had not spoken, " but if I see that you have reha- 
bility and good sense, I'll agree to give you an allow- 
ance later." 

Mildred eyed him curiously. «' Why are you making 
these offers, these concessions P " she said. " You think 
everyone in the world is a fool except yourself. You're 
greatly deceived. I know that you don't mean what 
you've been saying. I know that if you got me in 
your power again, you would do something frightful. 
I've seen through that mask you wear. I know the 
kind of man you arc." 

" If you know that," said the general in his even 
slow way, monotonous, ahnost lifeless, " you know you'd 
better come with me than stand out against me." 

She did not let him see how this struck terror into 
her. She said: " No matter what you might do to me, 
when I'm away from you, it would be lesS than you'd 
do with me under your roof. At any rate, it'd seem 

The general reflected, decided to change to another 
point: " You made a bargain with me. You've broken 
it. I never let anyone break a bargain with me with- 
out making them regret it. I'm giving you a chance 
to keep your bargain." 

She was tempted to discuss, but she could not find 
the words, or the strength. Besides, how futile to dis- 
cuss with such a man. She sank back in her chair 
wearily. « I shall never go back," she said. 

He looked at her, his face devoid of expression, but 
she had a sense of malignance unutterable eying her 


from behind a screen. He said: "I see you've misun- 
derstood my generosity. You think I'm weak where 
you are concerned because I've come to you instead of 

rw*,,"* ^ ""'^ ""'' """"^"^ ^°" ^'^^ t° ""«•" He rose 
Well, my offer to you is closed. And once more I 
say, you will come to me and ask to be taken back I 
may or may not take you back. It depends on how 
1 11 feel at that time." 

Slowty, with his ludicrously pompous strut, he 
marched to the drawing-room door. She had not felt 
hke smihng, but if there had been any such inclination 
It would have fled before the countenance that turned 
upon her at the threshold. It was the lean, little face 
with the funny toupee and needMke mustache and 
.mpena but behind it lay a personality like the duU, 
cold, yeUow eyes of the devil-fish ambushed in the hazy 
mass of dun-colored formlessness of collapsed body 
and tentacles. He said: 

"You'd best be careful how you conduct yourself. 
You 11 be under constant observation. And any friends 
you make — they'd do weU to avoid you." 

He was gone. She sat without the power of motion, 
without the power of thought. After a time — per- 
haps long, perhaps short, she did not know -Mrs. 
BeJloc came m and entered upon a voluble apology for 
the maid's having shown "the little gentleman" into 
the drawmg^room when another was already there. 
That maid's as green as spring com," said she. 
Such a thing never happened in my house before. 
And It'll never happen again. I do hope it didn't cause 


" It was my husband," said Mildred. " I had to see 
him some time." 

"He's certainly a very elegant little gentleman," 
said Mrs. Belloc. " I rather like small men, myself." 

Mildred gazed at her vaguely and said, « Tell me — 
a rich man, a very rich man — if he hates anyone, can 
he make trouble?" 

" Money can do anything in this town," replied Mrs. 
Belloc. " But usually rich men are timid and stingy. 
If they weren't, they'd make us aU cringe. As it is, 
I've heard some awful stories of how men and women 
who've got some powerful person down on them have 
been hounded." 

Mildred turned deathly sick. "I think I'll go to 
my room," she said, rising uncerUinly and forcing 
herself toward the door. 

Mrs. Belloc's curiosity could not restrain itself. 
"You're leaving.'" she asked. "You're going back 
to your husband? " 

She was startled when the girl abruptly turned on 
her and cried with flashing eyes and voice strong and 
vibrant with passion: "Never! Never! No matter 
what comes — never! " 

Tlie rest of the day- and that night she hid in her 
room and made no effort to resist the terror that preyed 
upon her. Just as our strength is often the source of 
weakness, so our we""aknesses often give birth to strength. 
Her terror of the little general, given full swing, 
•hneked and grimaced itself into absurd.:y. She w«s 
•shamed of her orgy, Was laughing at it' as the sun 


and intoxicating air of « typical New York „,„„• 

nonna, state:^LT:^eC^ te7:;r r-t 
noon Stanley Baird telephoned. '^*""'* 

saiZ' ""f "Ik "'' '"''^ °"''' "«"■» ^- -'n- time." 


" I'm sure of it," gaid she «« W« „ j 

"Bon. let that disturb yo^ ZZ^^^^ « A 

exTl I '"'" °" J'°" **"» »"^n,oon at three Do 

£ z^'-T^::^'- '-'' '•^-» ■^o -" 'he taikrng." 

one had intended to tell Bo.vj <• 1 1 . 

:::cs br •''-"'^ ^^ JheTi" :;itrd 

and would be, m.mcere. And that she could not sav 
vollr • !• '"' *° =""« *" '^'»> possibly to in- 

dennl 1 .1 "" '*""«* *" ''° *hat she would have 

denounced another as base for not doing Inst^ If 

the lofty words that flow so freely from th^ lip'fl;' 





and action heroines, instead of the words that any and 
every reader of this history would doubtless have pro- 
nounced in the same circumstances, she said : 

" You're quite sure you want to go on? " 

"Why not? " came instantly back over the wire. 

" He is a very, very relentless man," replied she. 

" Did he try to frighten you? '» 

" I'm afraid he succeeded." 

"You're not going back on the career!" exclaimed 
he excitedly. " I'll come down there and — " 

" No, no," cried she. " I was simply giving you a 
chance to free yourself." She felt sure of him now. 
She scrambled towaM the heights of moral grandeur. 
"I want you to stop. I've no right to ask you to 
involve yourself in my misfortunes. .Stanley, you 
mustn't. I can't allow it." 

"Oh, fudge!" laughed he. "Don't give me these 
scares. Don't forget — Jennings at three. GQpd-by 
and good luck." 

And he rang off that she might have no chance on 
impulse to do herself mischief with her generous 
thoughtfukess for him. She felt rather mean, but not 
nearly so mean as she would have felt had she let the 
opportunity go by with no generous word said. " And 
no doubt my aversion for that little wretch," thought 
she, "makes me think him more terrible than he is. 
After all, what can he do? Watch me — and discover 
nothing, because there'll be nothing to discover." 

Jennings came exactly at three — came with the air 
of a man who wastes no one's time and lets no one waste 
his time. He was a youngish man of forty or there- 


and eyeo that seemed to be looking restlessly about fo; 

brou^a. L t jr J r L^s; iLr:;. 

parentljr with the aid of a valet ^^ea, ap 

the stll V7'"* '*""»« -to P"P"e yourself for 
the stage. And you wish a comfortable place to live 

hers f ngidly. dropped it. « We shall get on _ if vou 
Se;^»"iji^raT;:i ^I^-- wfstemyse/uj:: 


wntten on this card. I think you wiU find the quarters 
you are looking for." Huarters 

" Thank you," said Mildred. 
at'hST ^"r-'"/ "''''"- - on the card, also- 

ir l^S °" '''"'^"^- ^' ''" *»■- ^y ™t 

ven'tufed."" """^ ^ ^"^ " ^°'" '""* '''^'•" **''"'"'» ' 

"That, of course," said Mr. Jennings curtly. «« Un- 
til half-past ten on Saturday, good day." 
Again he gave the abrupt foreign bow and, while 

Mildred was still struffcline with l,«.r ., : ' "'""^ 

f . "KK'ing witn her surprise and con- 

fusion, she saw him. through the window, driving 
apidly away. Mrs. Belloc came drifting th ough h! 

there were new visitors, „nd in her it was not irritating 



because her interest was innocent and sympathetic. 
Said Mildred: 

" Did you see that man, Mrs. BellocP " 

"What an extraordinary nose he had," replied she. 

" Yes, I noticed that," said Mildred. « But it was 
the only thing I did notice. He is a singing teacher — 
Mr. Jennings." 

" Eugene Jennings? " 

"Yes, Eugene." 

" He's the best known singing teacher in New York. 
He gets fifteen dollars a half-hour." 

" Then I simply can't take from him ! " exclaimed 
Mildred, before she thought. "That's frightful!" 

"Isn't it, though?" echoed Mrs. Belloc. "I've 
heard his income is fifty thousand a year, what with 
lessons and coaching and odds and ends. There's a lot 
of them that do well, because sb many fool women with 
nothing to do cultivate their voices — when they can't 
sing a little bit. But he tops them all. I don't see 
how any teacher can put fifteen dollars of value into 
half an hour. But I suppose he does, or he wouldn't 
get it. Still, his may be just another case of New York 
nerve. This is the biggest bluff town in the world, I 
do believe. Here, you Can get itway v'ith anything, I 
don't care what it is, if only you bluff hard enough." 

As there was no reason for delay and many reasons 
against it, Mildred went at once to the address on the 
car4 Jennings had left. She found Mrs. Howell 
Brindley installed in a plain comfortable apartment in 
Fifty-ninth Street, overlooking the park and high 
to make the noise of the traffic endurable. A 




Mildred .wS I: T' *'" ''°"'' '""' *e like, 
fully '^ '^ '"*'•'"'« °f Mn,. Brindley hope- 

She was not disappointed. Pre«entJv !„ „ 

endurina kind A. T - ""°*''*'" ""^ ""'^ 

but not^oXAitrrir-"' -'^ -"'^- 

SteveJ" "'^"* ^''"' "*"• Siddall-that i,. Mi„ 

the expense of ^:lp.niT.mZr7r '" ■*"" 
matter settled Mr W T ' """^ ^ ""»* *he 

to me. and t tW "Z'Z IZ'^f'' T""' ^°" 
charmingly — « i ,„ „.!, f ^ ~ ''"^ ** '"•"^^ 
say." """^^ *° ""y th"* it is for you to 

Mildred did not know how to beirin ei. i . . 

«-«,.* .pp.. S's;"UtJr^- 

139 " 



I •m hei« in New Yoric to teach the piano. What the 
Imiodi will bring, with my imall income, will enable me 
to live — if I can find someone to help out at the ex- 
peniei here. At I underitand it, you are willing to 
pay forty dollars a week, I to run the house, pay all 
the bills, and so on — all, of course, if you wish to come 

Mildred made a not very successful attempt to con- 
ceal her embarrassment. 

" Perhaps you would like to look at the apartment? " 
suggested Mrs. Brindley. 

" Thank you, yes," said Mildred. 

The tour of the apartment — two bedrooms, dining- 
room, kitchen, sitting-room, large bath-room, drawing- 
room — took only a few minutes, but Mildred and Mrs. 
Brindley contrived to become much better acquainted. 
Said Mildred, when they were in the drawing-room 

"It's most attrartive — just what I should like. 
What — how much did Mr. Jennings say?" 

"Forty dollars a week." She colored slightly and 
spoke with the nervousness of one not in the habit of 
discussing money matters. " I do not see how I could 
make it less. That is the fair share of the — " 

"Oh, I think that is most reasonable," interrupted 
Mildred. " And I wish to come." 

Mrs. Brindley gave an almost childlike sigh of relief 
and smiled radiantly. "Then it's settled," said she. 
" I've been so nervous about it." She looked at Mildred 
with friendly understanding. " I think you and I are 
somewhat alike about practical things. You've not had 


You can telephone 

much experience, either, have you? I judge so from 
the fact that Mr. Jenning. i. looking after everythina 
for you." ■ 

..r!!,.''** ^^ "" "P*"*""* "t all." »aid Mildred. 

That i. why I'm hesitating. I'm wondering if I can 
afford to pay so much." 

Mrs. Brindley laughed. «Mr. Jennings wished to 
fix It at sixty a week, but I insisted that forty wu 
enough," said she. 

Mildred colored high with embarressment. How 
much did Mrs. Brindley know? — or how little? She 
stammered : " WeU, if Mr. Jennings says it is aU right. 
1 11 come." 

" You'll let me know to-morrow? 
Mr. Jennings." 

T.11" ^*'' '" '** ^°" """"^ to-morrow. I'm almost sure 
income. In fact, I'm quite sure. And — I think we 
shall get on well together." 

".We can help each other," said Mrs. Brindley. " I 
don't care for anything in the worid but music." 

« I want to be that way," said Mildred. « J shall be 
that way." 

" It's the only sure happiness — to care for some- 
thmg, for some thing," said Mrs. Brindley. « People 
die, or disappoint one, or become estranged. But when 
one centers on some kind of work, it gives pleasure al- 
ways — more and more pleasure." 

" I am so afraid I haven't voice enough, or of the 
right kind," said Mildred. "Mr. Jennings is going 
to try me on Saturday. Really I've no right to settle 
anything until he has given his opinion." 


I I 


Mn. Brindley tmiltd with her ejres onljr, aad Mildred 

" If he ihould tajr thot I wouldn't do," the went on, 
•* I'd not know which way to turn." 

" But he'll not lay th«t," said Mr». Brindley. " Yoa 
can iing, can't you? You have •ung? " 

" Oh, ye.." 

" Then you'U bexaccepted by him. And it wiU take 
him a long time to find out whether you'll do for a pr»- 

" I'm afraid I .«ng very badly." 

" That will not m^itter. You'll ling better than at 
leaat half of Jennings's pupila." 

" Then he doesn't take only those worth while? " 

Mrs. Brindley looked amused. " How would he live 
if he did that? It's a teacher's business to teach. 
Learning — that's the pupil's lookout. If teachers 
taught only those who could and would learn, how would 
they live? " 

" Then I'U not know whether I'll do! " exclaimed Mil- 

"You'll have to find out for yourself," said- Mrs. 
Brindley. «No one can tell you. Anyone's opmion 
might be wrong. For example, I've known Jennings, 
who is a very good judge, to be wrong — both ways." 
HesiUtingly: "Why not sing for me? I'd like to 

"Would you tell me what you honestly thou^t?" 
said Mildred. 

Mrs. Brindley laughingly shook her head. 
Mildred liked her honesty. « Then it'd be useless to 

•«ng/orjrou,»Midj,e. ..r_„^„. ^ 

pro/esiionalljr? » *^ * ^ '^■" "«▼«' «ng 

."cce... And .„„. of Te ^^.L^t!": .i; ■' "T' 

famous and bett paid _ .i^llT '^* "■ **= ■ •" t 

n.u.ic. except J.^lT/^fT """ """ ""^ " '*^"•" 
•fager mean, T !. {' ""^ "*'*'' ""''^-'♦and ,f A 

that mdce. the .in«p nn^^' * ' *'"' ""'""nent 

"Do let me Vn"*J ' ^"" •"■ t«"P«r«ment." 

it will help "r* '"■- ^°"''' -■'J Mildred. "I thid. 

her plajring herTn ._**": ^"'""'J' ««»ted on 
— aang in the clMr .„J i "' *™" usual 



Mildred was instantly depressed. "You think Mr. 
Jennings may reject me? " she asked. 

" I know he will not," replied Mrs. Brindley. « Not 
as long as you can pay for the lessons. But I was 
thinking of the real thing — of whether you could win 
out as a singer." 

" And you don't think I can? " said Mildred. 

" On the contrary, I believe you can," replied Mrs. 
Brindley. " A singer means so much besides singing. 
The singing is the smallest part of it. You'll under- 
stand when you get to work. I couldn't expUin now. 
But I can say that you ought to (jro ahead." 

Mildred, who had her share of vanity, had hoped for 
some enthusiasm. Mrs. Brindley 's judicial tone was a 
severe blow. She felt a little resentful, tegan to cast 
about for vanity-consoling reasons for Mrs. Brindley's 
restraint. " She means well," she said to herself, " but 
she's probably just a tiny bit jealouf. She's not so 
young as she once was, and she hasn't the faintest hope 
of ever being anything more than a piano-teacher." 

Mrs. Brindley showed that she had more than an 
inkling of Mildred's frame of mind by going on to say 
in a gentle, candid way : " I want to help you. So 
I shall be careful not to encourage you to believe too 
much in what you have. That would prevent you from 
getting what you need. You must remember, you are 
no longer a drawing-room singer, but a candidate for 
the profession. That's a very different thing." 

Mildred saw that she was mistaken, that Mrs. Brind- 
ley was honest and frank and had doubtless told her the 
exact truth. But her vanity remained sore. Never be- 


fore had anyone s„d ^ny le„ of her singing than that 
rt was wonderful, marvelous, equal to a great deal that 
passed for fine in grand opera. She had known 
that h« was exaggeration, but she had not known how 
«ro«ly ezaggeraW. Thus, this her first experience 

In 1 i!!^ """' ""'*"* ""^ «""■"«• Only her un- 
usual g«Hl sense saved her from being angry with Mrs. 
Brmdley. And .t was that same good sense that moved 
her presently to try to laugh at herself. With a brave 
attempt to smile gayly she said: 

"You don't realize how you've taken me down. I 
had no idea I was so conceited about my singing I 
can^ truthfully say I like your franknes's. buHhere'I 

ttlugi'. "'"^ ''^' ™ •" ^"'^'"^ *"««•• «»<* 
Mrs. Brindley's face lighted up beautifully. « You'll 
dol sheened. " I'm sure you'U do. I've been wait- 
ing and watchmg to see how you would take my criti- 

tTeTdTA*"^ '^'-''''- '"'^y "^^^ criticism, if 
they don't take it at all. they'U not go very far. n, 

matter how talented they are. If they fake itis you've 

tTdt Tf' "'"^-^^ hope' Now. I.rn 
afraid to tell you that you sang splendidly for an 
amateur -that you surprised me." ^ "• « 

"Don't spoil it all." said Mildred. «You were 
right; I can't sing." 

'i-^°\f*" *""'' "P""' °°* ^'>'" «<»nic opera even." 
replied Mrs. Brindley. « But vou wll .,„» T" 
_ 11 . •' ""*■ jou will sing, and sinir 

well. ,n one or the other, if you work." * 

" You really mean that? » said Mildred. 


i-S. . 



" If yctt work intelligently and persistently," said 
Mrs. Brindley. " That's a big if — as you'll discover 
in a year or so." 

" You'Jl see," said Mildred confidently. « Why, I've 
nothing else to do, and no other hope." 

Mrs. Brindley's smile had a certain sadness in it. 
She said: 

" It's the biggest if in all this world." 


w.. aw*ting her; he would caU at a quarter-past eiZ 

Mil£ w "'':"^.'' ""« *•'•= »""• This ti^e 

hi. h 1 P^Pared; she refused to be disconcerted by 

.l:5Tw°"""" ""' '^ """ '°"« ''"'n> nose tha' 

awaj any glance seeking to investigate the rest of hi, 

cZlv' . P^"""''"*^- She looked at him candidly, 

I^^h"^'. i '*""^!^- ^^^'"^'y- With eyes that saw 
as U,ey had never seen before. Perhaps from the death 

~urtsh,p. MJdred had been waking „p. There is a 
part of our nature -the active and aggressive part- 

we lead Lves of ease and secure dependence. It is the 
r r ""^u °' "^' ^-"-""^ P'''* *•>•* deterlile 
of Mildred was her acquaintance with Mrs. Belloc 
That positive and finely-p„ised lady fascinated her, in- 

t^f.Z P°''"f""y-«-e her just what she 
needed at the particular moment. The vital moments 
m Lfe are not the crises over which shallow people 

rTl' .."' " """"*"*' "^"'^ ^« •»*' «"d absorbed 
the Ideas that enabled us to weather these crises. Th. 





acquaintance with Mrs, Belloc was one of those vital 
moments; for, Mrs. Belloc's personality — her look and 
manner, what she said and the way she said it — was a 
proffer to Mildred of invaluable lessons which her 
awakening character eagerly a^rorbed. She saw Jen- 
nings as he was. She decided that he was of common 
origin, that his vanity was colossal and aquiver through- 
out with sensitiveness; that he belonged to the'familiar 
type of New-Yorker who succeeds by bluffing. Also, 
she saw or felt a certain sejaessness or indifference to 
sex — and this she later understood. Men whose occu- 
pation compels them constantly to deal with women go 
to one extreme or the other — either become acutely 
sensitive to women as women or become utterly indiffer- 
ent, unless their highly discriminated taste is appealed 
to — which cannot happen often. Jennings, teaching 
only women because only women spending money they 
had not earned and could not earn would tolerate 
his terms and his methods, had, as much through ne- 
cessity as through inclination, gone to the extreme of 
lack of interest in aU matters of sex. One look at him- 
and the woman who had come with the idea of offering 
herself in fuU or part payment for lessons drooped in 
instinctive discouragement 

Jennings hastened to explain to Mildred that she need 
not hesitate about closing with Mrs. Brindley. « Your 
lessons are arranged for," said he. « There has been 
put in the Plaza Trust Company to your credit the sum 
of five thousand dollars. This gives you about a hun- 
dred dollars a week for your board and other personal 
expenses. If that is not enough, you will let me know. 


But I estimated that it would be enough. I do not think 
it wise for young women entering upon the preparation 
for a serious career to have too much money." 

" It is more than enough," murmured the girl " I 
know nothingabout those things, but it seems to me — " 

" You can use as little of it as you like," interrupted 
Jennings, rising. 

Mildred felt as though she had been caught and ex- 
posed in a hypocritical protest. Jennings was holding 
out something toward her. She took it, and he went 

" That's your check-book. The bank will send you 
statements of your account, and will notify you when 
any further sums are added. Now, I have nothing 
more to do with your affairs — except, of course, the 
artistic side — your development as a singer. You've 
not forgotten your appointment? " 

" No," said Mildred, like a primary school-child be- 
fore a formidable teacher. 

"Be prompt, please. I make no reduction for les- 
sons wholly or partly missed. The half-hour I shall 
assign to you belongs to you. If you do not use it, 
that is your affair. At first you will probably be like 
all women — careless about your appointments, coming 
with lessons unprepared, telephoning excuses. But if 
you are serious you will soon fall into the routine." 

" I shall try to be regular," murmured Mildred. 

Jennings apparently did not hear. " I'm on my way 
to the opera-house," said he. « One of my old pupils 
is appearing in a uew role, and she is nervous. Good 

^ 169 



Once mow that iwi/t, quiet exit, followed klnuwt in- 
stAiitaneauilj by the (ouad of wheeb rolling away. 
Neyer had the teen «uch rapidity of aiotioii without lots 
of dignity. " Ye., he', a fraud," she Mud to her«lf , 
" but he', a goodl one." 

The idea of a career had now beeome 1m. inde6nite. 
It was rtill without any attraction — not becauac of the 
toil it ioTolved, for that made small impression upon 
her who had never wor':. d and had nerer seen anyone 
work, but because a career meant cutting herself off 
from everything she had been brou^^t up to regard as 
fit and proper for a lady. She was ashamed of this; 
she did not admit its existence even to herself, and in 
her talks with Baird about the career she had professed 
exactly the opposite view. Yet there it was — nor need 
she have been ashamed of a feeling that is instilled into 
women of her class from babyhood as part of their 
ladylike education. The career had not become definite. 
She could not imagine herself out on a stage in some 
sort of a costume, with a painted face, singing before 
an audience. Still, the career was less indefinite than 
when it had no existence beyond Stanley Baird's enthusi- 
asm and her own whipped-up pretense of enthusiann. 

She shrank from the actual start, but at the same 
time was eager for it. Inaction began to fret her 
nerves, and she wished to be doing something to show 
her appreciation of Stanley Bhird's generosity. She 
telephoned Mrs. Brindley that she would come in the 
morning, and then she told her landlady. 

Mrs. Belloc was more than regretful; she was dis- 
tressed. Said she: «I\e taken a tremendous fancy 


to you. and I hate to gUre you up. I'd do mort any- 
thing to keep you." 

Mildred explained that her work compelled hep to 

'• 'Hiafs very interesting," said Mrs. Belloc. « If I 
were a few years younger, and hadn't spent all my en- 
ergy m teaching school and putting through that mar- 
riage, I'd try to get on the stage, myself. I don't want 
to lose sight of you." 

" Oh, I'll come to see you from time to time." 
" No, you won't," said Mrs. Belloc practically. " No 
more than I'd come to see you. Our lives lie in differ- 
ent directions, and in New York that means we'll never 
have time to meet. But we may be thrown together 
again some time. As I've got a twenty years' lease on 
this house, I guess you'U have no trouble in finding 
me. I suppose I could look you up through Professor 

"Yes," said Mildred. Then impulsively, "Mrs. 
Belloc, there's a reason why I'd like to change without 
anyone's knowing what has become of me — I mean 
anyone that might be — watching me." 

" I understand perfectly," said Mrs. BeUoc with a 
ready sympathy that made Mildred appreciate the ad- 
vantages of the friendship of unconventional, knock- 
about people. « Nothing could be easier. You've got 
no luggage but that bag. I'll take it up to the 
Grand Central Station and check it, and bring the 
check back here. You can send for it when you 
• please." _ '' 

"But what about me?" said Mildred 
171 . 


" I was coming to that. You walk out of here, say, 
about liaJf an hour after I go in the taxi. You walk 
through to the comer of Lexington Avenue and Thirty- 
seventh Stioet — there aren't any cabs to be had there. 
. ^11 be in the taxi, and we'll make a dash up the 
East Side and I can drop you at some quiet place in the 
park and go on — and you can walk to your new ad- 
dress. How does that strike you?" 

Mildred expresscii ner admiration. The plan was 
carried out, as Mrs. Bt ; • — a bom genius at all forms 
of intrigue — had ev ,i ^.i it in perfection on the spur 
of the moment. As hey went up the far East Side, 
Mrs. Belloc, looking back through the little rear win- 
dow, saw a taxi a few blocks behind them. « We haven't 
given them the slip yet,** said she, " but we will in the 
park." They entered the park at East Ninetieth 
Street, crossed to the West IJrivc. Acting on Mrs. 

Belloc's instructions, the motorman put on full speed 

with due regard to the occasional policeman. At a 
sharp tuming near the Mall, when the taxi could be 
seen from neither direction, he abruptly stopped. Out 
sprang Mildred and disappeared behind the bushes 
completely screening the walk from the drive. At once 
the taxi was under-way again. She, waiting where the 
screen of bushes was securdy thick, saw the taxi that 
had followed them in the East Side flash by — in pur- 
suit of Mrs. Be)k>c alone. 

She was free — at least until some mischance uncov- 
ered her to the little general. At Mrs. Brindley's she 
found a note awaiting her — a note from Stanley 

• m 


HmuL Miloud: 

I'm off for the F.r We.t, and probably .hall not h, h. 

and don t hesitate to call nn ^. le j ' 


She had not reahzed how uneasy .he was feeling about 

doubt that he genuinely intended to leave her free and 

ero,.ty. St 11, .he was constantly fearing lest circum- 
^ance. should thrust the. both-a. ,nufh againsThT. 
W.1! as hers-,nto a position in which she would have 
to choose between seeming, not to say being, ungrateful 
Se S r^ '''^,'■^7^ e, perhapl base^ XH 
The httle general eluded, Stanley voluntarily removed- 

lent and : T"'*^ '''°" ^"^ ^""'"'^^ «-' 'ntelli- 

K n and per.stent work - her "biggest if i„ all the 
world - was ,n fact a very simple matter. 

hhe had not been settled at Mrs. Brindley's many 

JZ'ali?': ' 'T""' *'"'* ""* -'^ --"eTee 

It i, " p"".:; •'"* "" '" ^'^^ « P-'«- -d great 
h^lj3. Mrs. Brmdley's talent for putting peoprat 
their ease was no mere drawing-room trick 

had'ttTet f i!'"' '"' ["""^'■■"^^'^ "* '''""^' - ^he 
Presburv t J^" 7" ^'' '"°*''" '"*'°'>"-d James 
Presbury ,nto the.r house at Hanging R„ck. Mrs. 




Brindlejr wai abiolutely devoid of prctemci. When 
Mildred ipoke to her of thii quality in her she taid : 

" I owe that to my husband. I was brought up like 
everybody else — to be more or less of a poser and a 
hypocrite. In fact, I think there was almost nothing 
genuine about me. My husband taught me to be my- 
self, to be afraid of nobody's opinion, to show myself 
just as I was and to let people seek or avoid me as they 
saw fit. He was that sort of man himself." 

" He must have been a remarkable man," said Mil- 

"He was," replied Mrs. Brindley. "But not at- 
tractive — at least not to me. Our marriage was a 
mistake. We quarreled whenever we were not at work 
with the music. If he had not died, we should have 
been divorced."- She smiled merrily. " Then he would 
have hired me as his musical secretary, and we'd have 
got on beautifully." 

Milared was still thinking of Mrs. Brindley's freedom 
from pretense. "I've never dared be myself," con- 
fessed she. " I don't know what myself really is like. 
I was thinking the other day how for one reason and 
another I've been a hypocrite all my life. You see, 
I've always been a dependent — have always had to 
please someone in order to get what I wanted." 

" You can never be yourself until you have an inde- 
pendent income, however small," said Mrs. Brindley. 
" I've had that joy only since my husband died. It's 
as well that I didn't hfcvr it sooner. One is the better 
for having served aii apprenticeship at self -repression 
ana at pretending to virtues one has not. Only those 

»ho earn their freedom know how to uw it. If I had 
l»d It ten or fifteen year, .go I'd have been an jntoler- 
•61* tyrwit. making everyone around me unhappy and 
therefore myelf. The ideal world would be one where 
everyone wa. born free and never knew wiything el.e. 
Then, no one being afraid or having *o lerve, every- 
toTerS. "* ** con.iderate in order t. get him«Jf 

"I wonder if I really ever .haU be able to earn a 
livmg? •• .ighed Mildred. 

"You must decide that whatever you can make .hall 
be for you a living," «>id the older woman. " I have 
hved on my fixed income, which i. under two thousand 
• year. And I am ready to do it again rather than 
tolerate anythmg or anybody that doe. not .uit me.» 

j^ u^ 'I*'" *° •" "'""•e'y careful," laughed MU- 
dred. I .hall be a dreadful hypocite with you." 

Mr.. Brmdley smiled; but underneath, Mildred .aw 
- or perhaps felt _ that her new friend wa, indeed not 
one to be trifled with. She .aid: 

" You and I will get on. We'U let each other alone. 
We have to be more or les. intimate, but we'U never be 

Alter a time .he discovered that Mrs. Brindley'. first 
name wa, Cyrilla, but Mr.. Brindley and Mi.. Steven, 
they remained to each other for a long time — until 
Circum.Unce. changed their accidental intimacy into 
endurmg friendship. Not to anticipate, in the course 
of that same conversation Mildred said: 

"If there is anything about me — about my life — 
that you wish me to explain, I shall be glad to do so " 

••ooeow nsouiTioN tbt chait 



■ 78 






1653 Ea«t Main SIrMt 
RochNttr, New York 14609 05* 
(716) «2 - 0300 - Phor» ^^ 

(716) 288- 5989 -Fo> 


" I know all I wish to know," replied Cyrilla Brind- 
ley. " Your face and your manner and your way of 
speaking tell me all the essentials." 

" Then you must not think it strange when I say I 
wish no one to know anything about me." 

" It will be impossible for you entirely to avoid meet- 
ing people," said Cyrilla. " You must have some sim- 
ple explanation about yourself, or you will attract at- 
tention and defeat your object." 

" Lead people to believe that I'm an orphan — per- 
haps of some obscure family — who is trying to get up 
in the world. That is practically the truth." 

Mrs. Brindley laughed. "Quite enough for New 
York," said she. " It is not interested in facts. All 
the New-Yorker asks of you is, ' Can you pay your bills 
and help me pay mine.' ' " 

Competent men are rare; but, thanks to the advan- 
tage of the male sex tn having to make the struggle for 
a living, they are not so rare as competent women. 
Mrs. Brindley was the first competent woman Mildred 
had ever known. She had spent but a few hours with 
her before she began to appreciate what a bad atmos- 
phere she had always breathed — bad for a woman who 
has her way to make in the world, or indeed for any 
woman not willing to be content as mere more or less 
shiftless, more or less hypocritical and pretentious, de- 
pendent and parasite. Mrs. Brindley — well bred and 
well educated — knew all the little matters which Mil- 
dred had been taught to regard as the whole of a lady's 
education. But Mildred saw that these trifles were but 
a trifling incident in Mrs. Brindlcy's knowledge. She 


knew real things, this woman who was a thorough-«o- 
.ng housekeeper and who trebled her income by giving 
mus,e lessons a few hours a day to such pupils as sh! 
thought worth the teaching. When she spoke, she al- 

Tmm /°T*'"'"^~°"'= "^ "«= fi'^t """g' noticed 
by Mildred, who, being too lazy to think except as her 
naturally good mind insisted on exercising itself, usu- 
ally talked s,mply to kill time and without any idea of 
getting anywhere. But while Cyrilla - without, i„ the 
least intending it -roused her to a painful sense of 
her own limitations, she did not discourage her. Mil- 
dred also began to feel that in this new atmosphere of 
Ideas, of work, of accomplishment, she would rapidly 
develop into a different sort of person. .It was ex- 
tremely fortunate for her, thought she, that she was 
living with such a person as Cyrilla Brindley. In the 
old atmosphere, or with any taint of it, she would have 
been unable to become a serious person. She would 
simply have dawdled along, twaddling about « art " and 
seriousness and careers and sacrifice, content with the 
amateur's methods and the amateur's results -and de- 
luding herself that she was making progress. Now- 
It was as different as public school from private school 
-puWic school where the mind is rudely stimulated, 
private school where it is sedulously mollycoddled. She 
had come out of the hothouse into the open 

At fi«t she thought that Jennings was to be as great 
a help to her as Cyrilla Brindley. Certainly if ever 
there was a man with the air of a worker and a place 
with the air of a workshop, that man and that place 
were Eugene Jennings and his studio in Carnegie Hall 


When Mildred entered, on that Saturday morning, at 
exactly half -past ten, Jennings — in a plain if elegant 
house-suit — looked at her, looked at the clock, stopped 
a girl in the midst of a burst of tremulous noisy melody. 
" That will do, >Iis3 Bristow," said he. " You have 
never sung it worse. You do not improve. Another 
lesson like this, and we shall go back and begin all over 

The girl, a fattish, " temperamental » blonde, burst 
into tears. 

" Kindly take that out into the hall," said Jennings 
coldly. "Your time is up. We cannot waste Miss 
Stevens's time with youi; hysterics." 

Miss Bristow switched from tears to fury. "You 
brute! You beast!" she shrieked, and flung herself 
out of the room, slamming the door after her. Jen- 
nings took a book from a pile upon a table, opened it, 
and set it on a music-stand. Evidently Miss Bristow 
was forgotten — indeed, had passed out of his mind at 
half-past ten exactly, not to enter it again until she 
should appear at ten on Monday morning. He said 
to Mildred: 

" Now, we'll see what you can do. Begin." 

" I'm a little nervous," said Mildred with a shy 
laugh. « If you don't mind, I'd like to wait till I've 
got used to my surroundings." 

Jennings looked at her. The long sharp nose 
seemed to be rapping her on the forehead like a wood- 
pecker's beak on the bark of the tree. « Begin," he 
said, pointing to the book. 

Mildred flushed angrily. «I shaU not begin until 



, brutalljr was at the outset. 

Jennings opened the door into the haU "Good 

Mildred looked at him; he looked at W H r 
t-bled the hot tea. flooded and b n ' he"" f 

and selL 1* ,r""''- ■'^""'"«' "''"^^'J *»>«= door 
and seated h.„,self at the far end of the room. She 

W ?■;:''/ '"'""' ""^"P*- She stopped, gritted 

surd but this time she was able to keep on not i™ 
proving, but maintaining her initial off I • 

She stopped. '''^ ^"'"*"" 

''You see," said she. "Shall I go or'" 
^^ Don't stop again „„til I tell you to ase," said 

two'ttf T^ "' '*T"'' ""' somersaulted through 
irfin'^r ''''-^^■-^-'"-'-- Then he held !p 

" Enough," said he. 
„ f T'. "° '"'^"' "■'™=*- She recalled what Mrs 
|mpl,ed. But she got no consolation. She said tim- 

w2"^l'\T- '!™°'"«'' ^ *="" "^^ •'^tter than that. 
Won t you let me try a song? " 

can't'^bre'r' V "'■' '" " ^'- «n't stand. You 
cant breathe. You can't open your mouth. Natu- 
rally, you can't sing." 
,She dropped to a chair. 




" Take the book, and go over the same thing, sit 
ting," said he. 

She began to remove her wraps. 
" Just as you are," he commanded. " Try to forget 
yourself. Try to forget me. Try to forget what a 
brute I am, and what a wonderful singer you are. Just 
open your mouth and throw the notes out." 

She was rosy with rage. She was reckless. She 
sang. At the end of three pages he stopped her with 
an enthusiastic hand-clapping. "Good! Good!" he 
cried. " I'll take you. I'll make a singer of you. 
Yes, yes, there's somct})ing to work on." 

The door opened. A tall, thin woman with many 
jewels and a superb fur wrap came gliding in. Jen- 
nings looked at the clock. The hands pointed to eleven. 
Said he to Mildred: 

« Take that book with you. Tractiee what you've 
done to-day. Lcam to keep your mouth jpen. We'll 
go into that further next time." He was holding the 
door open for her. As she passed out, she heard him 

"Ah, Mrs. Roswell. We'll go at that third song 
first." " 

The door closed. Reviewing all that had occurred, 
Mildred decided that she must revise her opinion of 
Jennings. A money-maker he no doubt was. And 
why not? Did he not have to live? But a teacher also, 
and a great teacher. Had he not destroyed her vanity 
at one blow, demolished it? — yet without discouraging 
her. And he went straight to the bottom of things — 
very different from any of the teachers she used to have 


when «hc wa« posing i„ drawing-rooms as a person with 

weren t a lady and therefore ■ forced to be a profes- 
-nal .„g.„g p,„„„. Yes great teacher -«"/! 
deadly earnest. He would permit no trifling! How 
she would have to work! 

have beheved she possessed. He instructed her mi- 

Lr tol .*r "'' ■■" '"'^ *" '''''''"" - •>- to open 
her mouth and keep it open, in how to relax her throat 

and leave U relaxed. Ho filled every second of he 

ha f-hour; she had never before realized how much time 

half an hour was, how use could be made of every 1 

of .ts e-ghteen hundred seconds. She went to hear 

other teachers give lessons, and she understood why 

Jennmgs could get such prices, could treat his pupiil 

tt he *^*;f ''• *''°"«''t h™ « genius, felt confident 
that he would make a great singer of her. With the 
second lesson she began to progress rapidly. In, fS 
weeks she amazed herself. At last she was^eally sing! 
"?\ Not ma great way. but in the beginning of a 
^eat way. Her voice had many times the po^er of 
her drawmg-room days. Her notes were full and 
round and came without an effort. Her former idea, 
of what constituted facial and vocal expression Tow 
seemed niculous to her. She was now slging w"th! 
out makmg those dreadful faces which she^all once 
thought charming and necessary. Her lower register 

register - the test part of a v^ice - was showing signs 



of strength and steadiness and evenness. And she was 
fast getting a real upper rcgiuter, as distinguished from 
the forced and shrieky high notes that pass as an upper 
register with most singers, even opeTa, singers. After 
a month of this marvelous forward march, she sang for 
Mrs. Brindley — sang the same song she had essayed 
at their first meeting. When she finished, Mrs. Brind- 
ley said: 

" Yes, you've done wonders. I've been noticing your 
improvement as you practiced. You certainly have a 
very different voice and method from those you had a 
month ago," and so on through about five minutes of 
critical and disc iminating praise. 

Mildred listened, wondering why her dissatisfactiont 
her irritation, increased as Mrs. Brindley praised on 
and on. Beyond question Cyrilla was sincere, and was 
saying even more than Mildred had hoped she would 
say. Yet — Mildred sat moodily measuring off oc- 
taves on the keyboard of the piano. If she had been 
looking at her friend's face she would have flared out 
in anger; for Cyrilla Brindley was taking advantage 
of her abstraction to observe her with friendly sympathy 
and sadness. Presently she concealed this candid ex- 
pression and said: 

"You are satisfied with your progress, aren't you, 
Miss Stevens? " 

Mildred flared up angrily. " Certainly ! " replied 
she. " How could I fail to be? " 

Mrs. Brindley did not answer — perhaps because she 
thought no answer was needed or expected. But to Mil- 
dred her silence somehow seemed a denial. 


"It you can only keep what you've irol_.n^ 
on," .aid Mr,. BrindJey. ^ ""'' «° 

B"t I do fear," said Mrs. Brmdley. "I think if. 
then there's the awful fear of not bcing'able io hold 

After a moment's silence Mildred, who could not hide 
away resentment against one she liked, .aid: «Whv 
aren't j,o« satisfied, Mrs. Brindley?" ^ 

"But I am satisfied." protested CyriUa. « Only it 
makes me afraid to see yo„ .o well satisfied. I'v^ fe.„ 
tta often in people fi„t starting, and it's alw y. S- 

Cdr d r T' ""^ *"• ^°"'^« «°* '^ straight-away 
hundr d „des to walk. Can't you see that it would h^ 
possible for you to become too much elated by the war 
you walked the first part of the first imle? » - ' 

MrBriT" *T *° *■'«»"■•««* -»«? " "aid Mildred. 
Mrs. Bnndley colored. "I do it because I want to 

me. .11 not do it agam. And please don't ask my 

rs." ' """ "" ' ""''' '-'^ ^""-"^ - % wS 

dreZ'*'" you don't think I've done weU? » cried Mil- 
« Indeed you have." replied CyriUa warmly. 

ITl teU you. and then I'll stop and you must not ask 
my opm,on agam. To live too close together to be 
able to aflTord to criticize each other. Zt I Inl 



was thii : You have done well the first part of the great 
task that's before you. If you had done it any less 
well, it would have been folly for you to go on." 

" That is, what I've done doesn't amount to any- 
thing? Mr. Jennings doesn't agree with you." 

"Doubtless he's right," said Mrs. Brindley. "At 
any rate, we all agree that you have shown that you 
have a voice." 

She said this so simply and heartily that Mildred 
could not but be mollified. Mrs. Brindley changed the 
subject to the song Mildred had sung, and Mildred 
stopped puzzling over the mystery of what she had 
meant by her apparently enthusiastic words, which had 
yet diffused a chill atmosphere of doubt. 

She was doing her scales so well that she became im- 
patient of such " tiresome child's play." And pres- 
ently Jennings gave her songs, and did not discourage 
her when she talked of roles, of getting seriously at 
what, after all, she intended to do. Then there came a 
week of vile weather, ond Mildred caught a cold. She 
neglected it. Her voice left her. Her tonsils swelled. 
She had a bad attack of ulcerated sore throat. For 
nearly three weeks she could not take a single one of the 
lessons, which were, nevertheless, paid for. Jennings 
rebuked her sharply. 

" A singer has no right to be sick," said he. 

" You have a cold yourself," retorted she. 

"But I am not a singer. I've nothing that inter- 
feres with my work." 

"It's impossible not to take cold," said Mildred. 
"You are unreasonable with me." 


He .hrugged hi. .houlder.. " Go get well," h. .ail 
?ve H^n * «"« *«» Hi. bill w., .ev.nty- 

Sot -4 u '^'P'"^- ^^' =°"''* *»■'' •<="°"« "gain. 
Som day. .he .ang a. well a. ever, and on thee day 

Jennng, wa. chami^g. other day. .he sang atri and Je.„i„g, treated her a. if .he wcrf doilt 

^ dehberatey. A third and wor.e state was that of- 

the day, when .he in the half-hour alternately 

Hr.ln :•"' ""f'- °" *''- <"'>' Jennings a^lS 
hke a lunatic. He raved up and down the studio, aU 

withered under h« scorn, feared he would throw open 
hi. door and order her out and forbid her ever to enter 
.gam. But gradually .he ca» understand him- 
not enough to lose her fe=r of him altogether, but 
enough to lo.e thefear of hi. giving up so profltlble a 

.uc!el*™t* ''"•*«*. Jenning.. like every man who 
.ucceed at a„yU„ng in this world, operated upon a 

.27/;' T ,•"! "^""^ "*'="'^- "« '- » n-r. of 

and not a httle common sense. He had tried to be a 

habk. He had adopted teacning singing a. a „,ean. 
rf getting a hvmg. He had learned ju.t enough about 

te.^« he had got together a teaching .y.tem that wa. 

a. good -and a. bad -as any. and this he dubbed 




the Jennings Method and proceeded to exploit u the 
only one worth while. When that method wa« worked 
out and perfected, he ceaied learning, ceaied to give a 
thought to the profeaiional aide of hii profeuiou, juit 
as moit profeuional men do. He would have rewnted 
a luggeation or a new idea a* an attack upon the Jen- 
ninga Method. The overwhelming majority of the 
human race — indeed, all but a amall handful — have 
thia paaaion for atugnation, this ferocity againat change. 
It ia in large part due to lazineaa ; for a new idea meana 
work in learning it and in unlearning the old ideaa 
that hiive been true until the unwelcome advent of the 
new. In part also thia reaiatance to the new idea ariaei 
from a fear that the new idea, if tolerated, will put one 
out of buaineaa, will aet him adrift without any meana of 
aupport. The coachman hatea the automobile, the 
hand-worker hatea the machine, the orthodox preacher 
hatea the heretic, the politician hatea the reformer, the 
doctor hatea the bacteriologiat and the chemiat, the old 
woman hatea the new — all theae in varying proportiona 
according to the degree in which the iconoclaat attacka 
lazineaa or livelihood. Finally we all hate any and all 
new ideaa becauae they aeem to imply that we, who have 
held the old ideaa, have been ignorant and atupid in ao 
doing. A new idea ia an attack upon the vanity of 
everyone who haa been a partiaan of the old ideaa and 
their eatabliahed order. 

Jennings, thoroughly human in thua closing his mind 
to all ideas about his profeaaion, was equally human in 
that be had his mind and his senses opened full width 
to ideaa on how to make more money. If there hod 



been mon.j, ,„ new idc. .bout teaching .inging Jen- would not have deed to the™. But the money 
w.. all in .tudjring and learning how better to handle 

r r?.^ ■ u ™'"""'" """' "■•"'"' hi'" at the out- 
.e that the ea.ygoing teacher would not long 
retam h.. pup.l. On the other hand, he .aw that th! 
really .evere teacher would not retain- hi, pupil,, either. 
Who were the.e pupil.? I„ the flr.t place, they were 
all .gnorant, for people who already know do not go 
to .chool to learn. They had the universal delu.i^ 
tlmt a teacher can teach. The fact ia f at a teacher 
« a well. Some wells are full, other, aim, dry. Some 
are «. arranged that water cannot be got from them, 
other, have attachments of variou, kinds, maKing the 
drawing of water more or le,. easy. But not from th- 
be« well with the late.t pump attachment can one get 
a dnnk unless one doe. the drinking one^lf. A teacher 
.. rarely a well. The pupil must not only draw the 
water but al.o dnnk it. must not only teach himself, 
but al«, learn what he teaches. Now we are all of us 
bom thirsty for knowledge, and nearly all of us are 
bom both capable of teaching ourselves and capable of 
eammg what we teach, that i,, of retaining and assimi- 
atmg It There i. such a thing as artificially feeding 

feeding the body; but while everyone knows that arti- 
ficial feeding of the body i. a .ucce.s only to a limited 
extent and for a brief period, everyone beMevc. that 
the artificial feeding of the mind is not only the best 
mrthod, but the only method. Nor doe. the discovery 
187 '• 


that the mind is simply the brain, is simply a part of 
the body, subject to the body's laws, seem materially to 
have lessened this fatuous delusion. 

Some of Jennings's pupils — not more than 'two of 
the forty-odd were in genuine earnest ; that is, those two 
were educating themselves to be professional singers, 
were determined so to be, had limited time and means 
and endless capacity for work. Others of the forty — 
about half — thought they were serious, though in fact 
the idea of a career was more or less hazy. They were 
simply taking lessons and toiling aimlessly along, not 
less aimlessly because they indulged in vague talk and 
vaguer thought about a career. The rest — the other 
half of the forty — were amusing themselves by taking 
singing lessons. It killed time, it gave them a feeling 
of doing something, it gave them a reputation of being 
serious people and not mere idlers, it gave them an 
excuse for neglecting the domestic duties which they ' 
regarded as degrading — probably because to do them 
well requires study and earnest, hard work. The Jen- 
nings sing^g lesson, at fifteen dollars a half-hour, was 
rather an expensive hypocrisy; but the women who 
used it as a cloak for idleness as utter as the mere 
ynwners and bridgers and shoppers had rich husbands 
or . fathers. 

Thus it appears that the Jennings School was a per- 
fect microcosm, as the scientists would say, of the human 
race — the serious very few, toiling more or less suc- 
cessfully toward a definite goal ; the many, compelled to 
do something, and imagining themselves seriout and 
purposeful as they toiled along toward nothing in. par- 


ticular but the next lesson — that is, the next day's 
appointed task; the utterly idle, fancying themselves 
busy and important when in truth they were simply a 
fraud and an expense. 

Jennings got very little from the deeply and genu- 
inely serious. One of them he teught free, taking 
promissory notes for the lessons. But he held on to 
them because when they finally did teach themselves 
to sing and arrived at fame, his would be part of the 
glory — and glory meant more and more pupils of 
the paying kinds. His large income came from the 
other two kinds of pupils, the larger part of it from 
the kind that had no seriousness in them. His problem 
was how to keep aU these paying pupils and also keep 
his reputatitm as a teacher. In solving that problem 
he evolved a method that was the true Jennings's method. 
Not in all New York, filled as it is with people living 
and living well upon the manipulati<Hi of the weaknesses 
of their fellow beings — not in all New York was there 
an adrbiter manipulator than Eugene Joinings. He 
was harsh to brutality when he saw fit to be so — or, 
rather, when he deemed it wise to be so. Yet never 
liad he lost a paying pupil through his harshness. 
These were fashionable women — most delicate, sensi- 
tive ladies — at whom he swore. They wept, stayed on, 
advertised him as a "wonderful serious teacher who 
won't stanS any nonsense and doesn't care a hang 
whether you stay or go — and he can teach absolutely 
anybody to sing! " He knew how to be gentle without 
seeming to be so ; he knew how to flatter without uttering 
• single word that did not seem to be reluctant praise 


or savage criticism; he knew how to make a lady with 
a little voice work enough to make a showing that would 
spur her to keep on and on with him; he knew how 
to encourage a rich woman with do more song than a 
peacock until she would come to him three times a week 
for many years — and how he did make her pay for 
what he suffered in listening to the hideous squawkings 
and yelpings she inflicted upon him! 

. Did Jennings, think himself a fraud? No more than 
the next human being who lives by fraud. Is there any 
trade or profession whose practitioners, in the bottom 
of their hearts, do not think they are living excusably 
and perhaps creditably? The Jennings theory was that 
he was a great teacher; that there were only a very few 
serious and worth-while seekers of the singing art; 
that in order to live and to teach these few, he had to 
receive the others; that, anyhow, singing was a fine 
art for anyone to have and taking singing lessons made 
the worst voice a little less bad — or, at the least, sing- 
ing was splendid for the health. One of his favorite 
dicta was, " Every child should be taught singing — 
for its health, if for nothing else." And perhaps he 
was right! At any rate, he made his forty to fifty 
thousand a year — and on days when he had a succes- 
sion of the noisy, tuneless' squawkers, he felt that he 
more than earned every cent of it. 

Mildred did not penetrate far into the secret of the 
money-making branch of the Jennings method. It was 
crude enough, too. But are not all the frauds that 
fool the human race crude? Human beings both can- 
not and will not look beneath surfaces. All Mildred 



learned Was that Jennings did not give up paying pupils. 
She had not confidence enough in this discovery to put 
it to the test. She did not dare disobey him or shirk — 
even when she was most disposed to do so. But grad- 
ually she ceased from that intense application she had 
at first brought to her ^ork. She kept up the forms. 
She learned her lessons. She did all that was asked. 
She seemed to be toiling as in the beginning. In reality, 
she became by the middle of spring a mere lesson-taker. 
Her interest in clothes and in going about revived. She 
saw in the newspapers that General Siddall had taken 
a party of friends on a yachting trip around the world, 
so she felt that she was no longer being searched for, 
at least not vigorously. She became acquainted with 
smart, rich West Side women, taking lessons at Jen- 
nings's. She amused herself going about with them and 
with the " musical " men they attracted — amateur and 
semi-professional singers and players upon instruments. 
She drew Mrs. Brindley into their society. They had 
little parties at the flat in Fifty-ninth Street — the most 
delightful little parties imaginable — dinners and sup- 
pers, music, clever conversations, flirtations of a harm- 
less but fascinating kind. If anyone had accused Mil- 
dred of neglecting her work, of forgetting her career, 
she would have grown indignant, and if Mrs. Brindley 
had overheard, she would have been indignant for her. 
Mildred worked as much as ever. She was making ex- 
cellent progress. She was doing all that could be done. 
It takes time to develop a voice, to make an opera-singer. 
Forcing is dangerous, when it is not downright useless. 
In May — toward the end of the month — Stanley 


Baird returned. MUdred, who happened to be in unnro- 
ally good voice that day, gang for him at the Jenningi 
studio, and he was enchanted. As the. last note died 
away he cried out to Jennings : 
" She's a wonder, isn't she? " 
Jennings nodded. " She's got a voice," said he. 
" She ought to go on next year." 
"Not quite "hat," said Jennings. "We want to 
get that upper register right first. And it's a young 
voice — she's very young for her age. We must be 
careful not to strain it." 

" Why, what's a voice for if not to sing with? " said 

" A fine voice is a very delicate instrument," replied 
the teacher. He added coldly, " You must let me judge 
as to what shall be done.'- 

" Certainly, certainly," said Stanley in haste. 
" She's had several colds this winter and spring," 
pursued Jennings. " Those things are dangerous until 
the voice has its full growth. She should have two 
months' complete rest." 

Jennings was going away for a two months' vaca- 
tion. He was giving this advice to all his pupils. 

"You're right," said Baird. "Did you hear, Mil- 

"But I hate to stop work," objected Mildred. "I 
want to be doing something. I'm very impatient of 
this long wait." 

And honest she was in this protest. She had no idea 
of the state of her own mind. She fancied she was still 
as eager as ever for the career, as intensely interested 


as ever in her work. She did not dream of the real 
meaning of her content with her voice as it was, of 
her lack of uneasiness over the appalling fact that such 
voice as she had was vmreliable, came and went for no 
apparent reason. 

" Absolute rest for two months," declared Jennings 
grimly. " Not a note until I return in August." 

Mildred gave a resigned sigh. 

There is much inveighing against hypocrisy, a vice 
unsightly rather than desperately wicked. And in the 
excitement about it its dangerous, even deadly near 
kinsman, self-deception, escapes unassailed. Seven 
cardinal sins; but what of the eighth? — the parent of 
all the others, the one beside which the children seem 
almost white? 

During the first few weeks IVJildred had been careful 
about spending money. Economy she did not under- 
stand; how could she, when she had never had a lesson 
in it or a valuable hint about it?- So economy was 
impossible. The only way in which such people can 
keep order in their finances is by not spending any 
money at all. Mildred drew nothing, spent nothing. 
T.iis, so long as she gave her whole mind to her work. 
But after the first great cold, so depressing, so subtly 
undermining, she began to go about, to think of,. to 
need and to buy clothes, to spend money in a dozen 
necessary ways. After all, she was simply borrowing 
the money. Presently, she would be making a career, 
would be earning large sums. She would pay back 
everything, with interest. Stanley meant for her to 


me the money. Really, she ought to use it. How 
«k>jld her career be helped by her going about looking 
a dowd and a frump? She had always been used to the 
comforts of life. If she deprived herself of them, she 
would surely get into a frame of mind where her work 
would suffer. No, she must lead the normal life of a 
woman of her class. To work all the time — why, as 
Jennings said, that took away all the fi'eshness, made 
one stale and unfit. A little distraction — always, of 
course, with musical people, people who talked and 
thought and did music — that sort of distraction was 
quite as much a part of lier education as the singing 
lessons. Mrs. Briiidley, certainly a sensible and serious 
woman if ever there was one — Mrs. Brindley believed 
so, and it must be so. 

After that illness and before she began to go about, 
she had fallen into several fits of hideous blues, had been 
in despair as to the future. As soon as she saw some- 
thing of people — always the valuable, musical sort of 
people — her spirits improved. And when she got a 
few new dresses — very simple and inexpensive, but 
stylish and charming — and the hats, -too, were success- 
ful — as soon as she was freshly arrayed she was sing- 
ing better and was talking hopefully of the career- 
again. Yes, it was really necessary that she live as 
she had always been used to living. 

When Stanley came back her account was drawn up 
to the last cent of the proportionate amount. In fact, 
it might have been a few dollars — a hundred or so — 
overdrawn. She was not sure. Itill, that was a small 
matter. During the summer she would spend less, and 


by fall she would be far ahead again — and ready to 
buy fall clothes. One day he said : 

" You must be needing more money." 

"No indeed," cried she. "I've been living within 
♦he hundred a week — or nearly. I'm afraid I'm fright- 
fully extravagant, and — " 

"Extravagant?" laughed he. "You are afraid to 
borrow! Why, three or four nights of singing will 
pay back all you've borrowed." 

^^ " I suppose I »a/ make a lot of money," said she. 
" They all tell me so. But it doesn't seem real to me " 
She hastily added: "I don't mean the career. That 
seems real enough. I can hardly wait to begin at the 
r61es. I mean the money part. You see, I never earned 
any money and never really had any money of my own." 
" Well, you'll have plenty of it in two or three years," 
said Stanley, confidently. "And you mustn't try to 
live like girls who've been brought up to hardship. It 
isn't necessary, and it would only unfit you for your 

" I think that's true," said she. « But I've enough — 
more than enough." She gave him a nervous, shy, 
almost agonized look. "Please don't try to put me " 
under any heavier obligations than I have to be." 

"Please don't talk nonsense about obligation," re- 
torted he. « Let's get away from this "Subject. You 
don't seem to realize that you're doing me a favor, that 
It's a privilege to be allowed to help develop such a 
marvelous voice as yours. Scores of people would jump 
at the chance." 

" That doesn't lessen my obligation," said she. And 


she thought the meant it, though,, in fact, his generous 
and plauiible statement of the case had immediately 
lessened not a little her sense of obligation. 

On the whole, however, she was not sorry she had 
this chance to talk of obligation. Slowly, as they saw 
each other from time to time, often alone, Stanley had 
begun — perhaps in spite of himself and unconsciously 
— to show his feeling for her. Sometimes his hand 
accidentally touched heis, and he did not draw it away 
as quickly as he might. And she — it was impossible 
for her to make any gesture, much less say anjrthing, 
that suggested sensitiveness on her part. It would put 
liim in an awkward position, would humiliate him most 
unjustly. He fell into the habit of holding her hand 
longer than was necessary at greeting or parting, of 
touching her caressingly, of looking at her with the 
eyes of a lover inst^id of a friend. She did not like 
these things. For some mysterious reason — from 
sheer perversity, she thought — she had taken a strong 
physical dislike to him. Perfectly absurd, for there 
was nothing intrinsically repellent about this handsome, 
clean, most attractively dressed man, of the best type 
of American and New-Yorker. No, only perversity 
could explain such a silly notion. She was always 
afraid he would try to take advantage of her delicate 
position — aljf ays afraid she would have to yield some- 
thing, some trifle ; yet the idea of giving anything from 
a sense of obligation was galling to her. His very 
refraining made her more nervous, the more shrinking. 
If he would only commit some overt act — seize her, 
kiss her, make outrageous demands — but this ref rain- 


ing, theie touches that might be accidental and again 
might be rtealthy approach— She hated to have him 
.hake hands with her, would have liked to draw away 
when his clothing chanced to brush against hers. 

So she was glad of the talk about obligation. It set 
him at a distance, hmnediately. He ceased to look lov- 
ingly, to indulge in the nerve-rasping little caresses. 
He became carefuUy formal. He was evidently eager 
to prove the sincerity of his protestations — too eager 
perhaps, her perverse mind suggested. StiU, sincere 
or not, he held to all the .orms of sincerity. 

Some friends of Mrs. Brindley's who were going 
abroad offered her their cottage on the New Jersey . 
coast near Seabright, and a big new touring-car and 
chauffeur. She and Mildred at once gave up the plan 
for a summer in the Adirondacks, the more readily as 
several of the men and women they saw the most of 
lived within easy distance of them at Deal Beach and 
Elberon. When Mildred went shopping she was lured 
into buying a lot of summer things she would not have 
needed in the Adirondacks — a mere matter of two 
hundred and fifty dollars or thereabouts, A little addi- 
tional economy in the fall would soon make up for such 
a trifle, and if there is one time more than another when 
a woman wishes to look well and must look well, that 
time is summer — especially by the sea. 

When her monthly statement from the bank came on 
the first of July she found that five thousand dollars 
had been deposited to her credit She was moved by 
tins discovery to devote several hours — very depressed 
hours they were — to her finances. She had spent a 


great deal more money than ihe had thought; indeed, 
since March the had been living at the rate of fifteen 
thousand a year. She tried to account for this amazing 
extravagance. But she could recall no expenditure 
that was not really almost, if not quite, necessary. It 
took a frightful lot of money to live in New York. 
How did people with small incomes manage to get along? 
Whatever would have become of her if she had not had 
the good luck to be able to borrow from Stanley ? What 
would become of her if, before she was succeeding on 
the stage, Stanley should die or lose faith in her or 
interest in her? .What would become of her! She had 
been living these last few months among people who 
had wide-open eyes and knew everything that was going 
on — and did some " going-on " themselves, as she was 
now more than suspecting. There were many women, 
thousands of them — among the attractive, costily 
dressed throngs she saw in the carriages and autos and 
cabs — who WQuld not like to have it published how they 
contrived to live so luxuriously. No, they would not 
like to hav^ it published, though they cared not a fig 
for its being whispered; New York too thoroughly 
understood how necessary luxurious living was, and was 
too completely divested of the follies of the old-fash- 
ioned, straight-laced morality, to mind little shabby 
details of queer conduct in striving to keep up with 
the procession. Evan the married women, using their 
husbands — and letting their husbands use them — did 
not frown on the irregularities of their sisters less for- 
tunately married or not able to find a permanent " leg 
to pull." As for the girls — Mildred had observed 


I things 

•ti«nge uuug. ui uie uvei 01 xne girii ihe knew more 
or ]eM weU nowad«yi. In /.ct, aU the women, of all 
claMa and conditioni, were engaged in the lame mad 
•tniggle to get hold of money to spend upon fun and 
finery — a struggle matching in rcckle, less and reso- 
luteness the struggle of the men down-town for money 
for the same purposes. It was curious, this double 
mania of the men and the women — the mania to get 
money, no matter how; the instantly succeeding mania 
to get rid of it, no matter how. Looking about her, 
Mildred felt that she was peculiar and apart from nearly 
all the women she knew. Sht got her money honorably. 
She did not degrade herself, did not sell herself, did not 
wheedle or cajole or pretend in the least degree. She 
had grown more liberal as her outlook on life had 
widened with contact with the New York mind — no, 
with the mind of the whole easy-going, luxury-mad, 
morality-scorning modem world. She still kept her 
standard for herself high, and believed in a purity for 
herself which she did not exact or expect in her friends. 
In this respect she and Cyrilla Brindley were sympa- 
thetically alike. No, Mildred was confident that in no 
circumstances, in no circumstances, would she relax her 
ideas of what she personally could do and could not do. 
Not that she blamed, or judged at all, women who did 
as she would not ; but she could not, simply could not, 
however hard she might be driven, do those things — 
thou.{h she could easily understand how other women 
did them in preference to sinking down into the working 
class or eking out a frowsy existence in some poor 
boarding-house. The temptation would be great. 


Thank Heaven, it wu not teaaing her. She would 
refiit it, of courie. But — 

What if Stanley Baird c'jould loM interest? What 
if, after he lo*t intereit, the ii "luld find henelf without 
"oney, wone off than the h.>d been when she sold 
hciielf into slavery — highly moral and conventionally 
correct slavery, but still slavery — to the little general 
with the peaked pink-silk nightcap hiding the absence 
of the removed toupee — and with the wonderful 
pink-silk pajamas, gorgeously monogramed in violet — 
and the tiny feet and ugly hands — and those loath- 
some needle-pointed mustaches and the hideous habit of 
mumbling his tongue and smacking his lips? What 
if, moneyless, she should not be able to find another 
Stanley or a man of the class gentleman willing to 
help her generously even on any terms? What 

She was looking out over the tea, her bank-bode and 
statements and canceled checkt in her lap. Their cot- 
tage was at the very edge of the ttrand; itt veranda 
was often damp from tpray after a storm. It was not 
storming as she sat there, " taking stock " ; under a 
blue sky an almost tranquil sea was crooning softly in 
the sunlight, innocent and happy and playful at a diild. 
She, dressed in t. charming negligee and looking for- 
ward to a merry day in the auto, with lunch and dinner 
at attractive, luxurious places farther down the coast — 
she was stricken with a horrible sadness, vith a terror 
that made her heart beat wildly. 

" I must be crazy ! " she said, half aloud. *' I've 
never earned a dollar with my voice. And for two 


monthf it Iim been unreliable. I'm acting Ukc a cwiy 
pcnon. What leiU become of me ? " 

Jurt then SUnley Baird came through Che pretty little 
houie, seeking her. " There you are ! " he cried. " Do 
go get dreued." 

Hartify ihe flung a icarf over the book and papers 
in her lap. She Ud intended to apeak to him about 
'that freih deposit of five thousand dollars — to refuse 
it, to rebuke him. Now she did not dare." 

" What's the matter? " he went on. " Headache? " 
" It was the wine at dinner last nij^t," explained she. 
" I ought never to toucfe red wine. It disagrees with 
me horribly." 

"That was filthy stuff," said he. "You must take 
some champagne at lunch. That'll set you right." 

She stealthily wound the scarf about the papers. 
When she felt that all were secure she rose. She was 
looking sweet and sad and peculiarly beautiful. The) f 
was an exquisite sheen on her skin. She »»ad vasned 
her hair that morning, and it was Uraying fascinatingly 
about her brow and ears and neck. Baird looked at 
her, lowered his eyes and colored. 

" I'll not be long," she said hurriedly. 
She had to pass him in the rather narrow doorway. 
From her garments shook a delicious perfume. He 
caught her in his arms. The blood had flushed into his 
face in a torrent, swelling out the veins, giving him 
a distorted and wild expression. 

"Mildred!" he cried. "Say that you love me a 
little! I'm so lonely for you — so hungry for you!" 
She grew cold with fear and with repulsion. She 


neither yielded to his embrace nor shook it off. She 
simply stood,' her round smooth body hard though corset- 
less. He kissed her on the throat, kissed the lace over 
her bosom, crying out inarticulately. In the frenzy of 
his passion he did not for a while realize her lack of 
response. As he felt it, hia arms relaxed, dropped away ' 
from her, fell at his side. He hung his head. He was 
breathing so heavily that she glanced into the house 
apprehensively, fearing someone else might hear. 

" I beg pardon," he muttered. " You were too much 
for mc this morning. It was your fault. You are 
maddening ! " 

She moved on into the house. 

" Wait a minute ! " he called after her. 

She halted, hesitating. >. 

" Come back," he said. " I've got something to say 
to you." 

She turned and went back to the veranda, he retreat- 
ing before her and his eyes sinking before the cold, 
clear blue o^ hers. 

" You're going up, not to come down again," he said. 
" You think I've insulted you — think I've acted out- 

How glad she was that he had so misread her thoughts 
• — had not discovered the fear, the weakness, the sudden 
collapse of all her boasted confidence in her strength of 

" You'll never feel the same toward me again," he 

went ."atuously on. " You think I'm a Yraud. Well, 

I'll admit that I am in love with you — have been ever 

since the steamer — always was crazy about that mouth 



of yours — and your figure, and the sound of your 
voice. I'll admit I'm an utter fool about you — respect 
you and trust you as I never used to think any wonian 
deserved to be respected and trusted. I'll even admit 
that I've been hoping — all sorts of things. I knew 
a woman like you wouldn't let a man help her unless 
she loved him." 

At this her heart beat wildly and a blush of shame 
poured over her face and neck. He did not see. He 
had not the courage to look at her — to face that 
expression of the violated goddess he felt confident her 
face was wearing. In love, he reasoned and felt about 
her like an inexperienced boy, all his experience going 
for nothing. He went on: 

" I understand we can never be anything to each other 
until you're on the stage and arrived. I'd not have it 
otherwise, if I could. For I want j/ou, and I'd never 
believe I had you unless you were free." 

The color was fading from her cheeks. At this it 
flushed deeper than before. She must speak. Not to 
speak was to lie, was to play the hypocrite. Yet speak 
she dared not. At least Stanley Baird was better than 
Siddall. Anyhow, who was she, that had been the wife 
of Siddall, to be so finicky? 

" You don't believe me? " he said miserably. " You 
think I'll forget myself sometime again? " 

" I hope not," she said gently. " I beli«ve not. I 
trust you, Stanley." 

And she went into the house. He looked after her, 
in admiration of the sweet and pure calm of this quiet 
rebuke. She tried to take the same exalted view of it 


herself, but she could not fool herself just then with 
the familiar " good woman " fake. She knew that she 
had struck the flag of self-respect. She knew what she 
would really have done had he been less delicate, less 
in love, and more " practical." And she found a small 
and poor consolation in reflecting, " I wonder how many 
women there are who take high ground because it costs 
nothing." We are prone to su-tpect everybody of any 
weakness we find in tiurselves — and perhaps we are not 
so far wrong as are those who accept without question 
the noisy protestations of a world of self -deceivers. 
Thenceforth she and Stanley got on better than ever 

— apparently. But though she ignored it, she knew 
the truth — knew her new and deep content was due to 
her not having challenged his assertion that she loved 
him. He, believing her honest and high minded, 
assumed that the failure to challenge was a good 
woman's way of admitting. But with the day of reck- 
oning — not only with him but also with her own self- 
respect — put off until that vague and remote time when 
she should be a successful prima donna, she gave herself 
up to enjoyment. That was a summer of rarely fine 
weather, particularly fine along the Jersey coast. They 

— always in gay parties — motored up and down the 
coast and inland. Several of the " musical " men — 
notably Richardson of Elberon — had plenty of money ; 
Stanley, stopping with his cousins, the Frasers, on the 
Rumson Road, brought several of his friends, all rich 
and more or less free. As every moment of Mildred's 
day' was full and as it was impossible not to sleep and 
sleep well in that ocean air, with the surf soothing the 



nerves as the lullaby of a nurse soothes a baby, she was 
able to put everything unpleasant out of mind. She 
was resting her voice, was building up her health; 
therefore the career was being steadily advanced and no 
time was being wasted. She felt sorry for those who 
had to do unpleasant or disagreeable things in making 
their careers. She told herself that she did not deserve 
her good fortune in being uble to advance to a brilliant 
career n : through hardship but over the most delight- 
ful road imaginable — amusing herself, wearing charm- 
ing and satisfactory clothes, swimming and dancing, 
motoring and feasting. Without realizing it, she was 
strongly under the delusion that she was herself already 
rich — the inevitable delusitin with a woman when she 
moves easily and freely and luxuriously about, never 
bothered for money, always in the company of rich peo- 
ple. The rich are fated to demoralize those around 
them. The stingy rich fUl their satellites with envr and 
hatred. The generous rich fill them with the feeling 
that the light by which they shine and the heat with 
which they are warm are not reflected light and heat 
but their own. 

Never had she been so happy. She even did not espe- 
cially mind Donald Keith, a friend of Stanley's and of. 
Mrs. Brindley's, who, much too often to suit her, made 
one of the party. She had tried in vain to discover 
what there was in Keith that inspired such intense liking 
in two people so widely different as expansive and emo- 
tional Stanley Baird and reserved and distinctly cold 
Cyrilla Brindley. Keith talked little, not only seemed 
not to listen well, but showed plainly, even in tSte-Ji-tete 


conversations, that his thoughts had been elsewhere. 
He made no pretense of being other than he was — an 
indifferent man who came because it did not especially 
matter to him where he was. Sometimes his silence and 
his indifference annoyed Mildred; again — thanks to 
her profound and reckless contentment — she was able 
to forget that he was along. He seemed to be and prob- 
ably was about forty years old. His head was beauti- 
fully shaped, the line of its profile —^ front, top, and 
back — being perfect in intellectuality, strength and 
symmetry. He was rather under the medium height, 
about the same height as Mildred herself. He was ex- 
tremely thin and loosely built, and his clothes seemed 
to hang awry, giving him an air of slovenliness which 
became surprising when one noted how scrupulously 
neat and clean he was. His brown hair, considerably 
tinged with rusty gray, grew thinly upon that beautiful 
head. His skin was dry and smooth and dead white. 
This, taken with the classic regularity of his features, 
gave him an air of lifelessness, of one burnt out by the 
fire of too much living ; but whether 'he living had been 
done by Keith himself or by his immediate ancestors 
appearances did not disclose. This look of passionless, 
motionless repose, like classic sculpture, was sharply and 
startlingly belied by a pair of really wonderful eyes — 
deeply and intensely blue, brilliant, all seeing, all com- 
prehending, eyes that seemed never to sleep, seemed the 
ceaselessly industrious servants of a biain that busied 
itself without pause. The contrast between the dead- 
white calm of his face, the listlessness of his relaxed 
figure, and these vivid eyes, so intensely alive, gave to 


Donald Keith's personality an uncanniness that was 
most disagreeable to Mildred. 

" That's what fascinates me," said Cyrilla, when they 
were discussing him one day. 

" Fascinates ! " exclaimed Mildred. " He's tire- 
some — when he isn't rude." 

" Rude? " 

"Not actively rude but, worse still, passively rude." 

" He is the only man I've ever seen with whom I could 
imagine myself falling in love," said Mrs. Brindley. 

Mildred laughed in derision. "Why, he's a dead 
man ! " cried she. 

"You don't understand," said Cyrilla. "You've 
never lived with a man." She forgot completely, as did 
Mildred herself, et completely had Mrs. Siddall returned 
to the modes and thoughts of a girl. " At home — to 
live with — you want only reposeful things. That is 
why the Greeks, whose instincts were unerring, had so 
much reposeful statuary. One grows weary of agi- 
tating objects. They soon seem hysterical and shal- 
low. The same thing's true of persons. For perma- 
nent love and friendship you want reposeful men — 
cahn, strong, silent. The other kind either wear you 
out or wear themselves out with you." 

" You forget his eyes," put in Stanley. " Did you 
ever see such eyes ! " 

"Yes, those eyes of his!" cried Mildred. "You 
certainly can't call them reposef ', Mrs. Brindley." 

Mrs. Brindley did not seize the opportunity to con- 
vict her of inconsistency. Said she: 

" I admit the eyes. They're the eyes of the kind of 





man a woman wants, or another man wants in his friend. 
When Keith looks at you, you f c I that you are seeing 
the rarest being in the world -r- an abadutely relisMe 
person. When I think of him I think of reliable, just 
as when yon think of the sun you think of bright- 

" I had no idea it was so serious as this," teased 

" Nor had I," returned Cyrilla easily, " until I began 
to talk about hira. Don't tell him, Mr. Baird, or he 
might take advantage of me." 

The idea amused Stanley. " He doesn't care a rap 
about women," said he. " I hear he has let a few care 
about him from time to time, but he soon ceased to 
be good-natured. He hates to be bored." 

As he came just then, they had to find another sub- 
ject. Mildred observed him with more interest. She 
had learned to have respect for Mrs. Brindley's judg- 
ments. But she soon gave over watching him. That 
profound calm, those eyes concentrating all the life of 
the man like a burning glass — She had a disagree- - 
able sense of being seen through, even to her secre'.est 
thought, of being understood and measured and weighed 
— and found wanting. It occurred to her for the first 
time that part of the reason for her not liking him 
was the best of reasons — that he did not like her. 

The first time she was left alone with him, after this 
discovery, she happened to be in an audacious and 
talkative mood, and his lack of response finally goaded 
her into saying :"" Why don't you like me? " She cared 
nothing about it; she simply wished to hear what he 


would say — if he could be roused into saying any- 
thing. ~ He was sitting on the steps leading from the 
Teranda to the sea — was smoking a cigarette and gaz- 
ing out over the waves like a graven image, as if he 
had always been posed there and always would be there, 
the embodiment of repose gazing in ineffable indiffer- 
ence upon the embodiment of its opposite. He made 
no answer. 

"I asked you why you do not like me," said she. 
" Did you hear? " 

"Yes," replied he. 

She waited; nothing further from him. Said she: 

" Well, give me one of your cigarettes." 

He rose, extended his case, then a light. He was 
never remiss in those kinds of politeness. When she 
was smoking, he seated himself aguin and dropped into 
the former attitude.. She eyed him, wondering how it 
could be possible that he had etidured the incredible 
fatigues and hardships Stanley ' Baird had related of 
him — hunting and exploring expeditions into tropics 
and into frozen regions, mountain climbs, wild sea voy- 
ages in small boats, all with no sign of being able to 
stand anything, yet also with no sign of being any 
more disturbed than now in this seaside laziness. Stan- 
ley had showed them a picture of hire taken twenty years 
end more ago when he was in college; he had looked 
almost the same then — perhaps a little older. 

" Well, I am waiting," persisted she. 

She thought he was about to look at her — a thing 
he had never done, to her knowledge, since they had 
known each other. She nerved herself to receive the 


shock, with a certain flutter of expectancy, of excite- 
ment even. But instead of looking, he settled himself 
in a slightly different position and fixed his gaze upon 
another point in the horizon. She noted that he had 
splendid hands — ideal hands for a man, with the same 
suggestion of intense vitality and aliveness that flashed 
from his eyes. She had not noted this before. Next 
she saw that he had good feet, and that his boots were 
his only article of apparel that fitted him, or rather, 
that looked as if made for him. 

She tossed h.-r cigarette over the rail to the sand. 
He startled her by speaking, in his unemotional way. 
He said: 

" Now, I like you better." 

" I don't understand," said she. 

No answer from him. The cigarette depending list- 
lessly from his lips seemed — as usual — uncertain 
whether it would stay or fall. She watched this uncer- 
tainty with a curious, nervous interest. She was always 
thinking that cigarette would f^l, but it never did. 
Said she: 

" Why did you say you liked me less? " 

" Better," corrected he. 

" We used to have a pump in our back yard at home," 
laughed she. "One toiled away at the handle, but 
nothing ever came. And it was a promising-looking 
pump, too." 

He smiled — a slow, reluctant smile, but undeniably 
attractive.^ Said he : 

" Because you threw away your cigarette." 

" You object to women smoking? " 


" No," said he. His tone made her feel how absurd 
it was to suspect him of such provincialism. 

" You object to my smoking? " suggested she; laugh- 
ing, "Pump! Pump!" 

" No," said he. 

" Then your remark meant nothing at all? " 

He was silent. 

"You are rude," said she coldly, rising to go into 
the house. 

He said something, what she did not hear, in her agi- 
tation. She paused and inquired : 

"What did you say?" 

" I said, I am not rude but kind," replied he. 

" That is detestable! " cried she. « I have not liked 
you, but I have been polite to you because of Stanley 
and Mrs. Brindley. Why should you be insulting to 

" What have I done? " inquired he, unmoved. He 
had risen as she rose, but instead of facing her he was 
leaning against the post of the veranda, bent upon his 
seaward vigil. 

" You have insinuated that your reasonii for not liking 
me were a reflection on me." 

" You insisted," said he. 

" You mean that they are? " demanded she furiously. 
She was amazed at her wild, unaccountable rage. 

He slowly turned his head and looked at her — a 
glance without any emotion whatever, simply a look 
that, like the beam of a powerful searchlight, seemed 
to thrust through fog and darkness and to light up 
everything in its path. Said he: 


" Do you with me to tell you why I don't like you? " 
"No!" the cried hysterically. "Never mind — I 
idont know what Fm gaying." And the went haitily 
into the house. A moment later, in her own room up- 
stairs, she was wondering at herself. Why had she 
become confused? What did he mean? What had she 
seen — or half seen —'in the darkness and fog within 
herself when Jie looked at her? In a passion she cried: 
" If he would only stay away ! " 



But he did not stay ,away. He owned and lived in 
a amall house up on the Rumson Road. While the 
house was little more than a bungalow and had a sim- 
plicity that completely liid its rare good taste from the 
average observer, its grounds were the most spacious in 
that neighboriiood of costly, showy houses set in grounds 
not much more extensive than a city building lot. The 
grounds had been cleared and drained to drive out and 
to keep out the obnoxious insect life, but had been left 
a forest, concealing the house from the roads. Stanley 
Baird was now stopping with Keith, and brought him 
along to the cottage by the sea every day. 

The parties narrowed to the same four persons. Mrs. 
Brindley seemed never to tire of talking to Keith — 
or to tire of talking about him when the two me.i had 
left, late each night. As for Stanley, he referred every- 
thing to Keith — the weather prospects, where they 
should go for the day, what should be eaten and drunk, 
any point about politics or fashion, life or literature 
or what not, that happened to be discussed. And he 
looked upon Donald's monosyllabic reply to his inquiry 
as a final jjidgment, ending all possibility of argument. 
Mildred held out long. Then, in spite of herself, she 
began to yield, ceased to dislike him, found a kind of 
pleasure —• or, p»-hap8, fascinated interest -r- in the 


nervouineis hit oilent and indifferent pretence caused 
her. She liked to watch that immobile, perfect pro61e, 
neither young nor old, indeed not luggeiting age in 
any degree, but only experience and knowledge - • and 
an infinite capacity for emotion, for pauion even. The 
dead-white color declared it had already been lived; 
the brilliant, uiually averted or veiled eyes atierted 
present vitality, pulsing under a calm surface. 

One day when Stanley, in the manner of one who 
wishes a thing settled and settled right, said he would 
ask Donald Keith about it, Mildred, a little piqued, 
a little amused, retorted: 

" And what will he answer? Why, simply yes or no." 

•' That's all," assented Stanley. " And that's quite 
enough, isn't it?" 

" But how do you know he's as wise as he pi-etendsr " 

" He doesn't pretend to be anything or to know any- 
thing. That's precisely it." 

Mildred suddenly began to like Keith. She had never 
thought of this before. Yes, it was true, he /did not 
pretend. Not in the least, not about lything. When 
you saw him, you saw at once the worst there was to 
see. It was afterward that you discovered he was not 
slovenly, but clean and neat, not badly but well dressed, 
not homely but handsome, not sickly but soundly well, 
not physically weak burstrong, not dull but vividly alive, 
not a tiresome void but an unfathomable mystery. 

" What does he do? " she asked Mrs. Brindley. 

Cyrilla's usually positive gray eyes looked vague. 
She smiled. " I never asked," said she. " I've known 
him nearly three years, and it never occurred to me 


to aik, or to wonder. Iin't that itrangc? Usually 
■bout the flrat inquiry we make ii what a man doet." 

" I'U Mk Stanley," said Mildred. And she did about 
an hour later, when they were in the surf together, with 
the other two out of earshot. Said Stanley : 

" He's a lawyer, of course. Also, he's written a novel 
or two and a book of poems. I've never read them. 
Somehow, I never get around to reading." 

" Oh, he's a lawyer? That's the way he makes his 

" A queer kind of lawyer. He never goes to court, 
and his clients are almost alt other lawyers. They go to 
him to get him to tell them what to do, and what not 
to do. He's got a big reputation among lawyers, 
Fred Norman tells me, but makes comparatively little, 
as he either can't or won't charg? what he ought. I 
told him what Norman said, and he only .imiled in that 
queer way he has. I said: 'You make twenty or 
thirty thousand a year. You ought to make ten 
times that.' " 

" And what did he answer? " asked Mildred. " Noth- 

" He said : ' I make all I want. If I took in more, I'd 
be bothered getting rid of it or investing it. I can 
always make all I'll want — unless I go crazy. And 
what could a crazy man do with money? It doesn't cost 
anything to live in a lunatic asylum.' " 

Several items of interest to add to those she had col- 
lected. He could talk brilliantly, but he preferred 
silence. He could make himself attractive to women 
and to men, but he preferred to be detached. He could 



be a greatlawyer, but he preferred the quiet of obscur- 
itj. He could be a rich man, but he preferred to be 
comparatively poor. 

Said Mildred: "I suppose some woman — some dis- 
appointment in love — has killed ambition, and every- 
thing like that." 

"I don't think so," replied BainL «The men who 
knew him as a boy g&y he was always as he is now. He 
lived in the Arabian desert for two years." 

"Why didn't he stay.'" laughed Mildred. "That 
life would exactly suit him." 

"It did," said Stanley. "But his father died, and 
he had to come home and support his mother — until 
she died. That's the way his whole life has been. 
He drifts in the current of circumstances. He might 
let himself be blown away to-morrow to the other end 
of the earth and stay away years — or never come 

" But how would he live? " 

'• On his wits. And as well or as poorly as he cared. 
He's the sort of man everyone instinctively asks advice 
of — me, you, his valet, the farmer who meets him at 
a boundary fence, the feUow who sits next him in a 
train — anyone." 

Mfldred did not merely cease to dislike him; she went 
farther, and rapidly. She began to like him, to cirele 
round that tantalizing, indolent mystery as a deer about 
a queer bit of brush in the undergrowth. She liked 
to watch him. She was alternately afraid to < «lk before 
him and recklessly confidential — all with no response 
or sign of intemt from him. If she was silent, when 


they were alone tog. llicr, he ^va, silent, too. If she 
talked, still he was sil' -,t. What n. as he thinking about ? 
What did he think ol hf ' — that especially. 

" What are you thinking? " she interrupted herself 
to say one afternoon as they sat together on the strand 
under a big sunshade. She had been talking on and on 
about her career — talking conceitedly, as her subject 
intoxicated her — telling him what triumphs awaited 
her as soon as she should be ready to debut. As he 
did not answer, she repeated her question, adding: 

" I knew you weren't listening to me, or I shouldn't 
have had the courage to say the foolish things I did." 

" No, I wasn't," admitted he. 

" Why not? " 

" For the xeason you gave." 

" That what I said was — just talk? " 

« Yes." 

"You don't believe I'll do those things? " 

"Do you?" 

" I've got to believe it," said she. " If I didn't — " 
She came to a full stop. 

« If you didn't, then what? " It was the first time 
he had ever flattered her with interest enough to ask 
her a question about herself. 

" If I didn't believe I was going to succeed — and 
succeed big — " she began. After a pause, she added, 
" I'd not dare say it." 

" Or think it," said he.^ 

She colored. " What do you mean? " she asked. 

He did not reply. 

" What do you mean, Mr. Keith? " she urged. 


" You are always asking me questions to which you 
already know the answer," said he. 

" You're referring to a week or so ago, when I asked 
you why you disliked me? " 

No answer. No sign of having heard. No outward 
sign of interest in anything, even in the cigarette droop- 
ing from the corner of his mouth. 

" Wasn't that it? " she insisted. 

" You are always asking me questions to which you 
already know the answer," repeated he. 

" I am annoying you ? " 

No answer. 

She laughed. " Do you want me to go away and 
leave you in peace with that — law case — or whatever 
it is? " 

" I don't like to be alone." 

" But anyone would do? — a dog? " 

No reply. 

" You mean, a dog would be better because it doesn't 
ask questions to which it knows the answer." 

No reply. 

" Well, I have a pleasant-sounding voice. As I'm 
saying nothing, it. may be soothing — like the sound of 
the waves. I've Icamad to take you as you are. I 
rather like your pose." 

No reply. No sign that he was even tempted to rise 
to this bait and protest. 

" But you don't like mine," she went on. " Yes, it 
is a pose. But I've got to keep it up, and to pretend 
to myself that it isn't. And it isn't altogether. I shall 
be a successful singer." 



"When?" said he. Actually he was listening! 

She answered: "In — about two years, I think." 

No comment. 

" You don't believe it? " 

"Do you?" A pause. « Why ask these questions 
you've already answered yourself? " 

" I'll tell you why," replied she, her fi..o suddenly 
flushed with earnestness. « Because I want you to help 
me. You help everyone else. Why not me? " 

" You never asked me," said he. 
"I didn't know I wanted it until just now — as I 
said it. But you, must have known, because you are 
so much more experienced than I — and understand 
people — what's going on in their minds, deeper than 
they can see." Her tone became indignant, reproach- 
ful. « Yes, you must have known I needed your helj,. 
And you ought to have helped me, even if you did dis- 
like me. You've no right to dislike anyone as young 
as I." 

He was looking at her now, the intensely alive blue 
eyes sympathetic, penetrating, understanding. It was 
frightful to be so thoroughly understood — all one's 
weaknesses laid bare — yet it was a relief and a joy, too 
— like the cruel healing knife of the surgeon. Said he : 

" I do not like kept women." 

She gasped, grew ghastly. It was a frightful insult, 

one for which she was wholly unprepared. "You 

believe — that? » she said slowly. 

"Another of those questions," he said. And he 
looked cahnly away, out over the sea, as if his interest 
in the conversation were at an end. 


What should she say? How deny — how convince 
him? For convince him she must, and then go away 
and never permit him to speak to her again until he had 
apologized. She said quietly: "Mr. Keith, you have 
insulted me." 

" I do not like kept women, either with or without 
a license," said he in the same even, indifferent way. 
" When you ceased to be a kept woman, I would help 
you, if I could. But no one can help a kept woman." 

There was nothing to do but to rise and go away. 
She rose and went toward the house. At the veranda 
she paused. He had not moved. She returned. He 
was still inspecting the horizon, the cigarette depend- 
ing from his lips — how did he keep it alight? She 

" ?ir. Keith, I am sure you did not mean to insult 
me. What did you mean?" 

"Another of those questions," said he. 

" Honestly, I do not understand." 

"Then think. And when you have thought, you 
will understand." 

" But I have thought. I do not understand." 

"Then it would be useless' to explain," said he. 
" That is one of those vital things which, if one cannot 
understand them for oneself, one is hopeless — is beyond 

" You mean I am not in earnest about my career? " 

" Another of those questions. If you had not seen 
clearly what I meant, you would have been really 
offended. You'd have gone away and not come 



She saw that this was true. And, seeing, she won- 
dered how she could have been so stupid as not to have 
seen it at once. She had yet to learn that overlooking 
the obvious is a universal human failing and that seeing 
the obvious is the talent and the use of the superior 
of earth — the few who dominate and determine the 

" You reproach me for not having helped you," he 
went on, "How does it happen that you are uneasy 
in mind — so uneasy that you are quarreling at me? " 
A light broke upon her. « You have been drawing 
me on, from the beginning," she cried. "You have 
been helping me — making me see that I needed 

" No," said he. " I've been waiting to see whether 
you would rouse from your dream of grandeur." 
" You have been rousing me." 
" No," he said. " You've roused yourself. So you 
may be worth helping or, rather, worth encouraging, 
for no one can help you but yourself." 

She looked at him pathetically. « But what shall I 
do?" she asked. "'I've got no money, no experience, 
no sense. I'm a vain, luxury-loving fool, cursed with 
a — with a — is it a conscience?" 

"I hope it's something more substantial. I hope 
it's common sense." 

" But I have been working — honestly I have." 
" Don't begin lying to yourself again." 
" Don't be harsh with me." 
^ He drew in his legs, in preparation foi lising — no 
doubt to go awav. 



" I don't mean that," she cried testily. " You are 
not harsh with me. It's the truth that's harsh — the 
truth I'm beginning to see — and f eeL I am afraid — 
afraid. I haven't the courage to face H." 

" Why whine ? " said he. " There's nothing in that." 

" Do you think there's any hope for me? " 

" That depends," said he. 

« On what? " 

" On what you want." 

" I wont to be a singer, a great singer." 

" No, there's no hope." 

She grew cold with despair. He had a way of say- 
ing a thing that gave it the full weight of a verdict 
from which there was no appeaL 

" Now, if you wanted to make a living," he went on, 
" and if you were determined to learn to sing as well 
as you could, with the idea that you might be able to 
make a living — why, then there might b* hope." 

" You think I can sing? " 

"I never heard you. Can you?" 

" They say I can." J 

" What do you say? " 

" I don't know," she confessed. " I've never been 
able to judge. Sometimes I think I'm singing well, and 
I find out afterward that I've sung badly. Again, it's 
the other way." 

" Then, obviously, what's the first thing to do? " 

" To learn to judge myself," said she. " I never 
thought of it before — how important that is. Do you 
know Jennings — Eugene Jennings?" 

" The singing teacher? No." 


" Is he a good teacher? " 

« No." 

" Why not? " 

" Because he has not taught you that you will never 
sing until you are your own teacher. Because he has 
not taught you that singing is a small and minor part 
of a career as a singer." 

" But it isn't," protested she. 

A long silence. Looking at him, she felt that he had 
dismissed her and her affairs from his mind. 

"Is it?" she said, to bring him back. 

"What?" asked he vaguely." 

" You said that a singer didn't have to be able to 

"Did I?" He glanced down the shore toward the 
house. " It feels like lunch-time." He rose, 

"Wliat did you mean by what you said?" 

"When you have thought about your case a while 
longer, we'll talk of it again — if you wish. But until 
you've thought, talking is a waste of time." 

She rose, stood staring out to sea. He was observ- 
ing her, a faint smile about his lips. He said : 

"Why bother about a career? After all, kept 
woman is a thoroughly respectable occupation — or can 
be made so by any preacher or justice of the peace. 
It's followed by many of our best women — those who 
pride themselves on their high characters — and on 
their pride." 

" I could not belong to a man unless I cared for him," 
said she. " I tried it once. I shall never do it again." 

" That sounds fine," said he. " Let's go to lunch." 


i '• 


" You don't believe me? " 

" Do you? " 

She sank down upon the sand and burst into a wild 
passion of sobs and tears. When her fight for self- 
control was over and she looked up to apologize for her 
pitiful exhibition of weakness — and to note whether 
she had made an impression upon his sympathies — she 
saw him just entering the house, a quarter of a mile 
away. To anger succeeded a mood of desperate for- 
lomness. She fell upon herself with gloomy ferocity. 
She could not sing. She had no brains. She was tak- 
ing money — a disgracefully large amount of money — 
from Stanley Baird under false pretenses. How could 
she hope to sing when her voice could not be relied upon? 
Was not her throat at that very moment slightly sore? 
Was it not always going queer? She — sing! Ab- 
surd. Did Stanley Baird suspect? Was he waiting for 
the time when she would gladly accept what she must 
have from him, on his own terms? No, not on his 
terms, but on the terms she herself would arrange — 
the only terms she could make. No, Stanley believed 
in her absolutely — believed in her career. When he 
discovered the truth, he would lose interest in her, would 
regard her as a poor, worthless creature, would be 
eager to rid himself of her. Instead of returning to 
the house, she went in the opposite direction, made a 
circuit and buried herself in the woods beyond the 
Shrewsbury. She was mad to get away from her own 
company; but the only company she could fly to was 
more depressing than the solitude and the taunt and 
sneer and lash of her own thoughts. It was late in the 



afternoon before she nerved herself to go home. She 
hoped the others would ha'-> gone off somewhere; but 
they were waiting for her, Stanley anxious and Cyrilla 
Brindley irritated. Her eyes sought Keith. He was, 
as usual, the indifferent spectator. 

"Where have you bten?" cried Stanley. 
" Making up my mind," said she in the tone that 
forewarns of a storm. 

A brief pause. She struggled in vain against an 
impulse to look at Keith. When her eyes turned in 
his direction he, not looking at her, moved in his listless 
way toward the cloor. Said he : 
"The auto's waiting. Come on." 
She vadUated, yielded, began to put on the wraps 
Stanley was collecting for her. It was a big touring- 
car, and they sat two and two, with the chauffeur alone. 
Keith was beside Mildred. When they were under way, 
she said: 

"Why did you stop -le? Perhaps I'U never have 
the courage again." 

" Courage for what? » asked he. 
" To take your advice, and break off." 
" My advice? » 
" Yes, your advice." 

" You have to clutch at and cling to somebody, don't 
you? You can't bear the idea of standing up by your 
own strength." 

" You think I'm trying to fasten to you? " she said, 
with an angry laugh. 

" I know it. You admitted it. You are not satisfied 
with the way things are going. You have doubts about 




1'. ' 



your career. Yju shrink from your only comfortable 
alternative, if the career wink. out. You a«k me my 
opinion about yourself and about careen. I give it. 
Now, I find you asked only that you might have some- 
one to lean on, to accuse of having got you into a 
mess, if doing what you think you ought to do turns out 
as badly as you fear." 

It was the longest speech she had heard him make. 
She had no inclination to dispute his analysis of her 
motives. "I did not realize it," said she, "but that 
is probably so. But — remember how I was brought 


" There's orly one thing for you to do." 
"Go bac'-. »<' .ay husband? You know — about me 
— don't you?" 
" Yes." 

" I can't go back to him." 
« No." 

"Then — what?" she asked. 
" Go on, as now," replied he. 
" You despise me, don't you? " 
" No." 

" But you said you did." 
" Dislike and despise are not at all the same." 
"You admit that you dislike me," cried she tri- 

He did not answer. 

« You think me a weak, clinging creature, not able 
to do anything but make pretenses." 
No answer. 

" Don't you? " she persisted. 


" Probably I have about the same opinion of you that 
you have of youwelf." 

" What wiU become of me? » the laid. Her face 
lighted up with an ezpreision of reclcleii lieauty. " If 
I could only get started I'd go to the devil, laughing 
and dancing — and taking a train with me." 

" You ar§ started," said he, with an amiable smile. 
" Keep on. But I doubt if you'll be so well amused as 
you may imagine. Going to the devil isn't as it's 
painted in novels by homely old maids and by men too 
timid to go out of nights. A few steps farther, and 
your disillusionment will begin. But there'll be no turn- 
ing back. Already, you are almost too old to make 
a career." 

" I'm only twenty-four. I flattered myself I looked 
still younger." 

"It's worse than I thought," said he. "Most of 
the singers, even the second-rate ones, began at fifteen — 
began seriously. And you haven't begun yet." 

" That's unjust," she protested. " I've done a little. 
Many great people would think it a great deal." 

" You haven't begun yet," repeated he calmly. « You 
have spent a lot of money, and have done a lot of 
• dreaming and talking and listening to compliments, 
and have taken a lot of lessons of an expensive 
charlatan. But what have those things to do with a 
career? " 

" You've never heard me sing." 

" I do not care for singing." 

"Oh!" said she in a tone of relief. "Then you 
[ know nothing about all this." 








" On the contrary, I know everything about • career. 
And we were talking ot careen, not of linglng.*' 

"You mean that mj roioe if worthleM becauM I 
haven't the other elemental " 

" What else could I have meant? » laid he. " You 
haven't the strength. You haven't the health." 

She lauded a« ihe itraightened herself. "Do I 
look weak and lickly? " cried she. 

" For the purposes of a career as a female you are 
strong and well," said he. "For the purpose of s 
career as a singer — " He smiled and shook his head. 
" A singer must have muscles like wire ropes, like s 
blacksmith or a washerwoman. The other day we wen 
climbing a hill — a not very steep hill. You stopped 
five times for breath, and twice you sat down to rest." 

She was literally hanging her head with shame. " 1 
wasn't very well that day," she murmured. 

" Don't deceive yourself," said he. " Don't indulg« 
in the fatal folly of self-excuse." 

" Go on," she said humbly. " I want to hear it alL* 
" " Is your throat sore to-day? " pursued he. 

She colored. "It's better," she murmured. 

" A singer with sore throat ! " mocked he. " You'v« 
had a slight fogginess of the voice all summer." 

" It's this sea air," she eagerly protested. " It af- 
fects everyone." 

" No self-excuse, please," interrupted he. " Ciga- 
rettes, champagne, all kinds of foolish food, an impairec 
digestion — that's the truth, and you know it." 

" I've got splendid digestion ! I can eat anything ! ' 
she cried. " Oh, you don't know the first thing abou 


tinging. You don't know about tempcnuncnt, about 
art, about all the thingi that linging really meani." 

" We were talking of careen," said he. " A career 
mcani a perton who can be relied upon to do what is 
demanded of him. A singer's career means a powerful 
body, perfect health, a sound digestion. Without them, 
the voice will not be reliable. What you need is not 
singing teachen, but teachers of athletics and of hygiene. 
To hear you talk about a career is like listening to a 
child. You think you can become a professional singer 
by paying money to a teacher. There arc lawyers and 
doctors and business men in all lines who think that way 
about their prof essions — that learning a little routine 
of technical knowledge makes a lawyer or a doctor or 
a merchant or a" financier." 

" Tell me — what ought I to learn? " 

"Learn to think — and to persist. Learn to con- 
centrate. Learn to make sacrifices. Learn to handle 
yourself as a great painter handles his brush and colors. 
Then perhaps you'll make a career as a singer. If not, 
it'll be a career as something or other." 

She was watching him with a wistful, puzzled expres- 
sion. " Could I ever do all that? " 

"Anyone could, by working away at it every day. 
, If you gain only one inch a day, in a year you'll have 
gained three hundred and sixty-five inches. And if you 
gain an inch a day for a while and hold it, you soon 
begin to gain a foot a day. But there's no need to 
worry about that." He was gazing at her now with an 
expression of animation that showed how feverishly alive 
he was behind that mask of cahnness. "The day's 


work — that's the story of success. Do the day's work 
persistently, thoroughly, intelligently. Never mind 
about to-morrow. Thinking of it means dreaming or 
despairing — both futilities. Just the day's work." 

"I begin to undersUnd," she said thoughtfully. 
"You are right. I've done nothing. Oh, I've been a 
fool — more foolish even than I thought." 

A long silence, then she said, somewhat embarrassed 
and in a low voice, though there was no danger of those 
in front of them hearing: 

" I want you to know that there has been nothing 
wrong — between Stanley and me." 

" Do you wish ^e to put that to your credit or to 
your discredit? " inquired he. 
"What do you mean?" 

" Why, you've just told me that you haven't given 
Stanley anything at aU for his money — that you've 
cheated him outright. The thing itself is discreditable, 
but your tone suggests that you think I'll admire vou 
for it." ^ 

" Do you mean to say that you'd think more highly 
of me if I were — what most women would be in the 
same circumstances?" 

" I mean to say that I think the whole business is 
discreditable to both of you — to his intelligence, to 
your character." 

" You are frank," said she, trying to hide her anger. 

" I am frank," replied he, undisturbed. He looked 
at her. « Why should I not be? " 

" You know that I need you, that I don't dare re- 
sent," said she. « So isn't it — a little cowardly ? " 


"Why do vou need me? Not for money, for you 
know you'll not get that." 

"I don't want it," cried she, agitated. "I never 
thought of it." 

"Yes, you've probably thought of it," replied he 
coolly. " But you will not get it." 

"WeU, that's settled — I'll not get it." 

" Then why do you need me? Of what use can I be 
to yo-j? Only one use in the world. To tell you the 
truth ^the exact truth. Is not that so?" 

" Yes," she said. " That is what I want from you 
— what I can't get from anyone else. No one else 
knows the tnitii — not even Mrs. Briudley, though she's 
intelligent. I take back what I said about your being 
cowardly. Oh, you do stab my vanity so! You 
mustn't mind my crying out. I can't help it — at 
least, not till I ^et used to you." 

" Cry out," said he. " It does no harm." 

" How wonderfully you understand me ! " exclaimed 
she. " That's why I let you say to me anything you 

He was smiling peculiarly — a smile that somehow 
made her feel uncomfortable. She nerved herself for 
some still deeper stab into her vanity. He said, his gaze 
upon her and ironical: 

" I'm sorry I can't retxim the compliment." 

" What compliment? " asked she. 

" Gan't say that you understand me. Why do you 
think I am doing this? " 

She colored. " Oh, no indeed, Mr. Keith," she pro- 
tested, " I don't think you are in love with me — or 



Indeed, I do not. I know you 

Then you are not 


anything of that sort. 
^ better than that." 

"Really?" said he, amused, 

"How can you think me so rain?" she 

"Because you are so," replied he. "You are as 
vain — no more so, but just as much so — as the avei^ 
age pretty and attractive woman brou^t up a» you 
have been. You are not obsessed by the- notion that 
your physical charms are all-powerful, and in that 
fact there is hope for you. But you attach entirely too 
much importance to, them. You will find them a hin- 
drance for a long time before they begin to be a help 
to you in your career. And they will always be a 
temptation to you to take the easy, stupid way of mak- 
ing a living — the only way open to most women that 
is not positively repulsive." 

" I think it is the most repulsive," said Mildred. 

"Don't cant," replied he, unimpressed. "It's not 
so repulsive to your sort of woman as manual labor — 
or as any kind of work that means no leisure, no luxury 
and small pay." 

" I wonder," said Mildred. "I — I'm afraid you're 
right. But I won't admit it. I don't dare.'' 

" That's the finest, truest thing I've ever heard you 
say," said Keith. 

Mildred was pleased out of all proportion to_the 
compUment. Said she with frank eagerness, "Then 
I'm not altogether hopeless? " 

" As a character, no indeed," replied he. « But as a 


career — I was about to say, you may set your mind 
at rest. I shall never try to collect for my lervices. 
I am doing all this solely out of obstinacy." 

" Obstinacy? " asked the puzzled girl. 

" The impossible attracts me. That's why I've never 
been interested to make a career in law or politics or 
those things. I care only for the thing that can't be 
done. When I saw you and studied you, as I study 
every new thing, I decided that you could not possibly 
make a career." * 

"Why have you changed your mind?" s6e inter- 
rupted eagerly. 

" I haven't," replied he. " If I had, I shou' J have 
lost interest in you. Just as soon as you show signs of 
making a career, I shall lose interest in you. I have a 
friend, a doctor, who will take only cases where cure is 
impossible. Looking at you, it occurred to me that 
here was a chance tS make an experiment more inter- 
esting than any of his. And as I have no other im- 
possible task inviting me at present, I decided to under- 
take you ^ — if you were willing." 

" Why do you tell me this? " she asked. " To dis- 
courage m<? " 

" No. Your VMiity will prevent that." 

"Then why?" 

" To clear myself of all responsibility for you. You 
understand — I bind myself to nothing. I am free to 
stop or to go on at any time." 

"And I?" said Mildred. 

"You must do exactly as I tell you." 

" But that u not fair," cried she. 





" Why notP " inquired he. " Without me you have 
no hope — none whatever." .- 

"I don't believe that," declared she. "It ii not 

" Very well. Then we'll drop the business," said he 
tranquilly. " If the time comes when you see that I'm 
your only hope, and if then I'm in my present humor, 
we will go on.'' 

And he lapsed into silence from which she soon gave 
over trying to rouse him. She thought of what he had 
said, studied him, but could make nothing of it. She 
let four days go by,, days of increasing unrest and un- 
happiness. She could not account for herself. Don- 
ald Keith seemed to have cast a spell over her — an 
evil spell. Her throat gave her more and more trou- 
ble. She tried her voice, found that it had vanished. 
She examined herself in the glass, and saw or fancied 
that her looks were going — not' so that others would 
note it, but in the subtle ways that give the first alarm 
to a woman who has beauty worth taking care of and 
thinks about it intelligently. She thought Mrs. BrI i- 
ley was beginning to doubt her, suspected a covert 
uneasiness in Stanley. Her foundations, such as they 
were, seemed tottering and ready to disintegrate. She 
saw her own past with clear vision for the first time — 
saw how futile she had been, and why Keith believed 
there was no hope for her. She made desperate ef- 
forts to .stop thinking about past and future, to absorb 
herself in present comfort and luxury and opportunities 
for enjoyment. But Keith was always there — and 
to see him was to lose all capacity for enjoyment. She 


was curt, almoat rude to him — had some vague idea of 
forcing him to stay away. Yet every time she lost 
sight of him, she was in terror until she saw him again. 

She was alone on the small- veranda facing the high- 
road. She happened to glance toward the station , her 
gaze became fixed, her body rigid, for, coming lei- 
surely and pompously toward the house, was General 
Siddall, in the full panoply of his wonderful tailoring 
and haberdashery. She thought of flight, but instantly 
knew that flight was useless; the little general was net 
there by accidert. She waited, her rigidity giving her 
a deceptive seeming of calm and even ease. He entered 
the little yard, taking off his glossy hat and exposing 
the rampant toupee. He smiled at her so slightly that 
the angle of the needle-pointed mustaches and imperial 
was not changed. The cold, expressionless, fishy eyes 
simply looked at her. 

" A delightful little house," said he, with a patroniz- 
ing glance around. " May I sit down? " 

She inclined her head, 

" And you are looking well, charming," he went on, 
and he seated himself and carefully planted his neat 
boots side by side. " For the summer there's nothing 
equal to the seashore. You are surprised to see me? " 

" I thought you were abroad," said Mildred. 

" So I was — until yesterday. I came back because 
my men had found you. And I'm here because I ven- 
ture to hope that you have had enough of this foolish 
escapade. I hope we can come to an understanding. 
I've lost my taste for wandering about. I wish to settle 
down — to have a home and to stay in it. By tha^ 



I mean, of course, two or three — or possibly four — 
houses, according to the season." Mildred sent her 
glance darting about. The little general saw and be- 
gan to talk more rapidly. " Fve given considerable 
thought to our — our misunderstanding. I feel that I 
gave too much importance to your — your — I did 
not take your youth and-inesperience of the world and 
of married life sufficiently into account. Also the first 
Mrs. Siddall was not a lady — nor the second. A lady, 
a young lady, was a new experience to me. I am a 
generous man. So I say frankly that I ought to have 
been more patient." 

" You said you would never see me again until I came 
to you," said Mildred. As he was not looking at her, 
she watched his face. She now saw a change — beL.nd 
the mask. But he went on in an unchanged voice: 

" Were you aware that Mrs. Baird is about to sue 
her husband for a separation — not for a divorce but 
for a separation — and name you?" 

Mildred dropped limply back in her chair. 

"That means scandal," continued Siddall, "scandal 
touching my name — my honor. I may say, I do not 
believe what Mrs. Baird charges. My men have had 
you under observation for several weeks. Also, Mrs. 
Brindley is, I learn, a woman of the highest character. 
But the thing looks bad — you hiding from your hus- 
band, living under an assumed name, receiving the visits 
of a former admirer." 

"You are mistaken," said Mildred. "Mrs. Baird 
would not bring such a false, wicked charge." 

"You are innocent, my dear," said the general. 


"You don't realize how your conduct looks. She in- 
tends to charge that her husband has been supporting 

Mildred, quivering, started up, sank weakly back 

" But," he went on, " you will easily prove that your 
money is your inheritance from your father. I assured 
myself of that before I consented to come here." 

" Consented? " said Mildred. " At whose request? " 

"That of my own generosity," replied he. "But 
my honor had to be reassured. When I was satisfied 
that you were innocent, and simply flighty and foolish, 
I came. If there had been any taint upon you, of 
course I could not have taken you back. As it is, I am 
willing — I may say, more than willing. Mrs. Baird 
can be bought off and frightened off. When she finds 
you have me to protect you, she will move very cau- 
tiously, you may be sure." 

As the little man talked, Mildred saw and felt behind 
the mask the thoughts, the longings of his physical 
infatuation for her coiling and uncoiling and reach- 
ing tremulously out toward her like unclean, horrible 
tentacles. She was drawn as far as could be back 
into her chair, and her soul was shrinking within her 


« I am willing to make you a proper allowance, and 
to give you all proper freedom," he went on. He 
showed his sharp white teeth in a gracious smile. "I 
realize I must concede something of my old-fashioned 
ideas to the modem spirit. I never thought I would, 
but I didn't appreciate how fond I was of you, my 



dear." He mumbled his tongue and noiHlemly smacked 
hi» thin lipa. "Yet, you are worth conceuiona and 

" I am not going back," «aid Mildred. " Nothing 
you could offer me would make any difference." She 
felt suddenly calm and strong. She stood. "Please 
consider this final." 

"But, my dear," said the general softly, though 
there was a wicked gleam behind the mask, " you forget 
the scandal — " 

" I forget nothing," interrupted she. " I shall not 
go back." 

Before he could attempt further to detain her she 
opened the screen door and entered. It closed on the 
spring and on the spring lock. 

Donald Keith, coming in from the sea-front veranda, 
was just in time to save her from falling. She pushed 
him fiercely away and sank down on the sofa just within 
the pretty little drawing-room. She said: 

" Thank you. I didn't mean to be rude. I was only 
angry with myself. I'm getting to be one of those 
absurd females who blubber and keel over." 

"You're white and limp," said he. "What's the 
matter? " 

" General Siddall is out there." 

" Um — he's come back, has he? " said Keith. 

" And I am afraid of him — horribly afraid of him." 

"In some places and circumstances he would be a 
dangerous proposition," said Keith. « But not here in 
the East — and not to you." 

"He would do anything. I don't know what he can 



do, but I am sure it wUl be f rightful — will destroy 

" You are going with him? " 
She laughed. " I loathe him. I thought I left him 
through fear and anger. I was mistaken. It wlj 
loathing. And my fear of him — it's loathing, too." 
"You mean that?" said Keith, observing her in- 
tently. « You wish to be rid of him? " 

" What a poor opinion you have of me," said she. 
" Really, I don't deserve quite that." 
" Then come with me." 

The look of terror and shrinking returned. 
"Where? To see him?" 

" For the last time," said Keith. « There'll be no 

It was the supreme test of hei confidence in him. 
Without hesitation, she rose, preceded him into the hall, 
and advanced firmly toward the screen door through 
which the little general could be seen. He was stand- 
ing at the top step, his back to them. At the sound 
of the opening door he turned. 

"This is Mr. Donald Keith," said Mildred. "He 
wishes to speak to you." 

The general bowed ; Keith bent his head. They eyed 
each other with the measuring glance. Keith said in his 
dry, terse way : " I asked Miss Gower to come with me 
because I wish her to hear what I have to say to you»" 

" You mean my wife," said the general with a gra- 
cious smile. 

"I mean Miss Gower," returned Keith. "As you 
know, she is not your wife." 

•[H s 






Mildred uttered • cry; but the two men continued 
to look each at the other, with inpauive countenaneet. 

" Your only wife ii the woman who hai b«en in the 
private iniane aiylum of Doctor Riven at Pueblo, Col- 
orado, for the past eleven yean. For about twenty 
yean before that ahe wu in the Delavan private aayhun 
near Denver. You could not divorce her under the laws 
of Colorado, The divorce you got in Nevada waa 

" That's a lie," said the general coldly. 

Keith went on, as if he had not heard: "You will 
not annoy this lady again. And you will stop bribing 
Stanley Baird's wife to make a fool of henelf. And 
you will stop buying houses in the blocks where Baird 
owns real estate, and moving colored families into 

" I tell you that about my divorce is a lie," replied 

"I can prove it," said Keith. "And I can prove 
that you knew it before you married your second wife." 

For the fint time Siddall betrayed at the surface a 
hint of how hard he was hit. His skin grew bright yel- 
low ; wrinkles round his eyes and round the base of his 
nose sprang into sudden prominence. 

"I see you know what I mean — that attempt to 
falsify the record at Carson City," said Keith. He 
opened the screer deor for Mildred to pass in. He fol- 
lowed her, and tl.». door closed behind them. They went 
into the drawing-room. He dropped into an easy chair, 
crossed his legs, leaned his head back indolently — a 
favorite attitude of his. 



"'How long lutTc you known? " said the. Her dieeki 
were flushed with excitement. 

" (Ml, • good many years," replied he. " It was one 
of those accidental bits of information a man runs across 
in knocking about. As soon as Baird told me about 
you, I had the thing looked up, quietly. I was going 
up to see him to-morrow — about the negroes and Mrs. 
Baird's suit." 

" Does Stanley know? " inquired she. 

"No," said Keith. "Not necessary. Never will 
be. If you like, you can have the marriage an- 
nulled without notoriety. But that's not necessary, 

After a long silence, she said: "What does this 
make out of me? " 

" You mean, what would be thought of you, if it were 
known?" inquired he. "Well, it probably woiildn't 
improve your social position." 

"I am disgraced," said she, curiously rather than 

" Would be, if it were known," corrected he, " and 
if you are nothing but a woman without money look- 
ing for a husband. If you happened to be a singer 
or an actress, it would add to your reputation — make 
you more talked about." 

" But I am not' an actress or a singer." 

" On the other hand, I should say you didn't amount 
to much socially. Except in Hanging Rock, of course 
— if thercis still a Hanging Rock. Don't worry about 
your reputation. Fussing and fretting about your 
social position doesn't help toward a career." 



1 = 





i ?^ 


" Natural!^, you take it coolly. But you can hardly 
expect me to," cried the. 

" You are taking it coolly," laid he. " Then why 
try to vork younelf up into a fit of hysteria? The 
thing is of no importance — except that you're free 
now — will never be bothered by Siddall again. You 
ought to thank me, and forget it. Don't be one of the 
little people who are forever agitating about trifles." 

Trifles! To speak of such things as trifles! And 
yet — Well, what did they actually amount to in her 
life? " Yes, I am free," she said thoughtfully. " I've 
got what I wanted — got it in the easiest way possible." 

" That's better," said he approvingly, 

" And I've burnt my bridges behind me," pursued 
she. " There's nothing for me now but to go ahead." 

" Which road? " inquired he carelessly. 

" The career," cried she. " There's no other for me< 
Of course I eouI<; marry Stanley, when he's free, as he 
would be before very long, if I suggested it. /Yes, I 
could marry him." 

" Could you? " observed he. 

"Doesn't he love mc?" 

" Undoubtedly." 

"Then why do you say he would not many me?" 
demanded she. 

" Did I say that? " 

" You insinuated it. You suggested that there was 
a doubt." 

" Then, there is no doubt? " 

" Yes, there is," she cried angrily. " You won't let 
me enjoy the least bit of a delusion. He might marry 


«• if I were f«inou». But ai I am now — He', an 
inbred tnob. He can't help it. He limply couldn't 
marry a woman in my poiition. But you're overlook- 
ing one thing — that / would not marry Kim." 

"That', unimportant, if true," .aid Keith. 

"You don't belierc it?" 

"I don't care anything about it, my dear lady," .aid 
Keith. " Have you got time to waste in thinking about 
how much I am in love with you? What a womanly 
woman you are, to be .ure. Your true woman, you 
know, never think, of anything but love — not how 
much (he loves, but how much she i. loved." 

"Be careful!" .he warned. "Some day you'll go 
too far in .aying outrageous things to me." 

" And then? " said he smilingly. 

" You care nothing for our friendship? " 

" The experiment is the only interest I have in you," 
replied he. 

"That is not true," said she. "You have always 
hked me. That's why you looked up my hus- 
General Siddal and got ready for him. That's why you 
saved me to-day. You are a very tender-hearted and 
generous man — and you hide it as you do everything 
else about yourself." 

He was looking off into space from the depths of 
the easy chair, a mockirfg smile on his classical, impas- 
sive face. 

" What puzzles me," she went on, " is why you inter- 
est yourself in as vain and shallow and vacillating a 
woman as I am. You don't care for my looks — and 
that's all there is to me." 



,'5. ;l 




'": mk 


■ lift.' 

"Don't pause to be contradicted," laid he. 
She was in a fine humor now. " You might at least 
hare said I was up to the female average, for I am. 
What have they got to offer a man but their lodes P 
Do jou know why I despise men? " 
" Do you? » 

" I do. And it's because they put up with women 
as mudi as they do — spend so much money on them, 
listen to their chatter, admire their ridiculous clothes. 
Oh. I understand why. I've learned that And I can 
imagine myself putting up with anything in some one 
man I happened to fancy strongly. But men are fool- 
ish about the whole sex — or aU of them that have a 
shadow of a claim to good looks." 

" Yes, the men make foob of themselves," admitted 
he. « But I notice that the men manage somehow to 
make the careers, and hold on to the money and the 
power, while the women have to wheedle and fawn and 
submit in order to get what they want from the men. 
There's nothing to be said for your sex. It's been 
hopelessly corrupted by mine. For'^all the talk about 
the influence of woman, what impression has yrfur sex 
made upon mine? And your sex — it has been made 
by mine intp exactly what we wished it to be. Take 
my advice, get out of your sex. Abandon it, and make 
a career." 

After a while she recalled with a start the events of 
less than an hour ago — events that ought to have 
seemed w?ldly exciting, arousing the deepest and strong- 
est emotions. Yet they had made no impression upon 
her. Absolutely none. She had no horror in the 


thought that the had been the victim of a bigamist; 
she had no elation over her release into freedom and 
safety. She wondered whether this arose from utter 
frivolousness or from indifference to the trifles of con- 
ventional joys, sorrows, agitations, excitements which 
are the whole life of most people — that indifference 
which is the cause of the general opinion that men and 
women who make careers are usually hardened in the 

As she lay awake that night — she had got a very 
bad habit of lying awake hour after hour — she sud- 
denly came to a decision. But she did not tell Keith 
for several days. She did*it in this way: 

" Don't you think I'm looking better? " she asked. 

" You're sleeping again," said he. 

"Do you know why? Because my mind's at rest. 
I've decided to accept your offer." 

"And my terms? " said he, apparently not interested 
by her announcement. 

" And your terms," assented she. " You are free to 
stop whenever the whim strikes you; I must do ex- 
actly as you bid. What do you wish me to do? " 

" Nothing at present," replied he. « I will let you 

She was disappointed. She had assumed- that some- 
thing — something new and interesting, probably irri- 
tating, perhaps enraging, would occur at once. His 
indifference, his putting off to a future time, which his 
manner made seem most hazily indefinite, gave her the 
foolish and collapsing sense of having broken through 
an open door. 



iKilif ,' 

The first of September they went up to town. 
Stanley left at once for his annual shooting trip ; Don- 
ald Keith disappeared, saying — as was his habit — 
neither what he was about nor when he would be seen 
again. Mrs. Brin^ley summoned her pupils and her 
musical friends. Mildred resumed the lessons with 
Jennings. There was no doabt about it, she had aston- 
ishingly improved during the summer. There had 
come — or, rather, had come back — into her voice the 
birdlike quality, free, joyous, spontaneous, that had not 
been there since her father's death and the family's 
downfall. She was glad that her arrangement with 
Donald Keith was of such a nature that she was yeally 
not bound to go on with it — if he should ever come 
back and remind her of what she had said. Now that 
Jennings was enthusiastic — giving just and deserved 
praise, as her own ear and Mrs. Brindley assured her, 
she was angry at herself for having tolerated Keith's 
frankness, his insolence, his insulting and contemptuous 
denials of her ability. She was impatient to sec him, 
that she mig^t put him down. She said to Jennings: 
" You think I can make a career? " 
" There isnt a doubt in my mind now," replied he. 
" You ought to be one of the few great lyric sopranos 
within five years." 




"A man, this summer — a really unusual man in 
some ways — told me there was no hope for me." 

" A singing teacher? " 

« No, a lawyer. A Mr. Keith — Donald Keith." 

" I've heard of him," said Jennings. '.' His mother 
was Rivi, the famous coloratura of twenty years ago." 

Mildred was astounded. " He must know something 
about music." 

" Probably," replied Jennings. " He lived with her 
in Italy, I believe, until he was almost grown. Then 
she died. You sang for him? " 

" No," Mildred said it hesitatingly. 

"Oh!" said Jennings, and his expression' — inter- 
ested, disturbed, puzzled — made Mildred understand 
why she had been so reluctant to confess. Jennings 
did not pursue the subject, but abruptly began the les- 
son. That day aind several days thereafter he put her 
to tests he had never used before. She saw that he 
was searching for somethihg — for the flaw implied in 
the adverse verdict of the son of Lucia Rivi. She was 
enormously relieved when he gave over the search with- 
out having' found the flaw. She felt that Donald 
Keith's verdict had been proved false or at least faulty. 
Yet she was not wholly reassured, and from time to time 
she suspected that Jennings had not been, either. 

Soon the gayety of the preceding winter and spring 
was in full swing again. Keith did not return, did not 
write, and Cyrilla Brindley inquired and telephoned in 
vain. Mildred worked with enthusiasm, with Hope, pres- 
ently with confidence. She hoped every day that Keith 
would come ; she would make him listen to her, force him 



to ^t. She caught a alight cold, neglected it, tried 
to smg rt away. Her voice left her abruptly. She 
went to Jennings as u.ual the day she found herself 
able to do nothing more musical than squeak. She told 
hmi her plight. Said he: 
"Begin! Let's hear." 

half laughmg, half ashamed, faced him for the lecture 
.he knew would be forthcoming. Now, it «, happened 
that Jennmgs was in a frightful humor that day _ one 
of those humors in which the most prudent lose their 
.elf-cont«,l. He h*a been listening to a succession of 
new pupds-woiien with money and no voice, women 
Who screeched and screamed and, thoroughly enjoyed 
themselves and angled confidently for compliments. As 
Jennmgs had an acute musical ear, his sufferings h«l 
WnghtftU. He was used to these torments, 1^ the 

excellent financial or disciplinary account. But on this 

Mdd/ed that Uie explosion came. When she looked at 

, ' ** '". '"^*^ *° ■«* * '•« <«»t»rted wd dis- 
col(»ed by sheer rage. 

You fool! You can't sing! Keith was right. You 

?i ^T'" ^°' * "•"""h "hoi'- You can't b^ 
rd.^ on. There's nothing behind your voice -no 
rtrength, no endurance, no brains. No brains! Do 
you hear? — no brains, I say!" 

h^^rZ''^- She had seen nim in tantrum. 

before, but rfw.y, there h«J been a judicious reserving 

«4« ° 


of part of the truth. Instead of resenting, instead of 
flaahing eye or quivering lips, Mildred sat down and with 
white face and dazed eyes stared strai^t before her. 
Jennings raved and roared himself out. As he came 
to his senses from this debauch of truth-telling his first 
thought was how expensive it might be. Thus, long 
before there was any outward sign that the storm had 
passed, the ravings, the insults were shrewdly tempered 
with qualifyings. If she kept on catching these colds, 
if she did hot obey his instructions, she might put off 
her d^but for years — for three years, for two years at 
least And she would always be rowing with managers 
and irriteUng the public — and so on and on. But 
Uie mischief had been done. The girl did not rouse. 

"No use to go on to-day," he said gruffly — the 
pretense at last rumblings of an expiring storm. 

" Nor any other day," said Mildred. 

She stood and straightened herself. Her face was 
beautiful rather than lovely. lu pallor, its strong 
lines, the melancholy intensity of the eyes, made her 
seem more the woman fully developed, less, far less, the 
maturing girL 

"Nonsense!" scolded Jennings. "But no more 
coHs like that. They impair the quality of the voice." 

" I have no voice," said the girl. " I see the truth." 

Jennings w,w inwardly cursing his insane temper. 
In about the kindliest tone he had ever used with her, 
he said: "My dear Miss Stevens, you are in no con- 
dition to judge to-day. Come back to-morrow. Do 
something for that cold to-night. Oear out the throat 
— and coine back to-morrow. You will see." 


" Yes, I know those tricks," said she, with a sad little 
smile. " You can make a crow seem to sing. But you 
told me the truth." 

" To-morrow," he cried pleasantly, giving her an en- 
couraging pat on the shoulder. He knew the folly of 
talking too much, the danger of confirming her fears by 
pretending to make light of them. " A good sleep, and 
to-morrow things will look brighter." 

He did not like her expression. It was not the one 
he was used to seeing in those vain, " temperamental " 
pupils of his — the downcast vanity that will be up 
again in a few hours. It was rather the expression of 
one who has been finally and forever disillusioned. 

On her way home she stopped to send Keith a tele- 
gram : " I must see you at once." 

There were several at the apartment for tea, among 
them CuUan, an amateur violinist and critic on music 
whom she especially liked. For, instead of the dreamy, 
romantic character his large brown eyes, and sensitive 
features suggested, he revealed in talk and actions a 
boyish gayety — free, be it said, from boyish silliness — 
that was most infectious. His was one of those souls 
that put us in the mood to laugh at all seriousness, to 
forget all else in the supreme fact of the reality of ex- 
istence. He made her forget that day — forget until 
Keith's answering telegram interrupted: "Next Mon- 
day afternoon." 

A week less a day away! She shrank and trembled 

at the prospect of relying upon herself alone for six 

long days. Every prop had been taken away from her. 

Even the dubious prop of the strange, unsatisfactory 




Keith. Fer had he not failed her? She had said, 
"must" and "at once"; and he had responded with 
three words of curt refusal. 

After dinner Stanley unexpectedly appeared. He 
hardly waited for the necessary formalities of the greet- 
ing before he said to Mrs. Brindley : " I want to see 
Mildred alone. I know you won't mind, Mrs. Brindley. 
It's very important." He laughed nervously but cheer- 
fully. " And in a few minutes I'll call you in. I think 
I'll have something interesting to tell you." 

Mrs. Brindley laughed. With her cigarette in one 
hand and her cup of after-dinner coffee in the other, 
she moved toward the door, saying gayly to Mildred: 

"I'll be in the next room. If you scream I shall 
hear. So don't be alarmed." 

Stanley closed the door, turned beaming upon Mil- 
dred. Said he: "Here's my news. My missus has 
got her divorce." 

Mildred started up. 

" Yes, the real thing," he assured her. " Of course 
I knew what was doing. But I kept mum — didn't 
want to say anything to you till I could say everything. 
Mildred, I'm free. We can be married to-morrow, if 
you wilL" 

" Then you know about me? " said she, confused. 

" On the way I stopped in to see Keith. He told me 
about that skunk — told me you were free, too." 

Mildred slowly sat down. Her elbows rested upon 

the table. There was her bare forearm, slender and 

round, and her long, graceful fingers lay against her 

dieek. The light from above reflected diarmingly 



from the »oft waves and curves of her hair. " You're 
lovely — simply lovely ! " cried Stanley. « Mildred — 
darling — you wU marry me, won't you? You can 
go right on with the career, if you like. In fact, Pd 
rather you would, for I'm frightfully proud of your 
voice. And I've changed a lot since I became sincerely 
interested in you. The other sort of life and people 
don't amuse me any more. Mildred, say you'U 
marry me. I'll make you as happy as the days are 

She moved slightly. Her hand dropped to the table. 

*' I guess I came down on you too suddenly," said 
he. " You look a 'bit dazed." 

"No, I'm not dazed," replied she. 

" I'll call Mrs. Brindley in, and we'll all three talk 
it over." 

« Please don't," said she. « I've got to think it out 
for myself." 

" I know there isn't anyone else," he went on. « So, 
I'm sure — dead sure, Mildred, that I can teach you 
to love me." 

She looked at him pleadingly. « I don't have to an- 
swer ri^t away? " 

" CerUinly not," laughed he. " But why shouldn't 
you? What is there against our getting married? 
Nothing. And everything for it. Our marriage will 
straighten out all the — the litUe difficulties, and you 
can go ahead with the singing and not bother about 
money, or what people might say, or any of those 

"I— I've got to think about it, Stanley," she said 


genUy. "I want to do the decent thing by you and 
by myielf." , «■>'.' 

"You're afraid I'U interfere in the career^ won't 
want you to go on? Mildred, I swear I'm—" 

«^'*."^v .*^*'" *• "to'n'Pted. her cobr high. 
The truth 18-" .he faltertd, came to a full .top- 
cried, " Oh, I can't talk about it to-night." 
" To-morrow? » he auggeited. 
"I — don't know," .he stammered. "Perhap. to- 
morrow. But it may be two or three day.." 

Stanley looked crestfallen. "That hurts, Mildred." 
he «ud. « I was lo full of it, so anxious to be entirely 
happy, and I thought you'd fall right in with it 
Somet*mg to do with money? You're horribly sensi- 
bve about money, dear. I like that in you, of course. 
Not many women would have been as square, would 
have taken a. little -and worked hard -and thought 
and cared about nothing but making good — % Jove 
It's no wonder I'm stark crazy about youl " ' 

She was flushed and trembling. "Don't," .he 
pleaded. " You're beating me down into the dust. I 
-Im— » She started up. "I can't talk to-night. 

I might My thing. I'd be- I can't talk about It. I 
must — " 

She pressed her lips together and fled through the 
ftau to her own room, to shut and lock herself in He 
stared in amazement. When he heard the distant sound 
of the turning key he dropped to a chair again and 
iaughed. Certainly women were queer creatures — al- 
ways doing what one didn't expect. Still, in the end - 
well, a sensible woman knew a good chance to marry 


and took it. There wai no duubt a good deal of pre- 
tenie in Mildred'* delicacy as to ^loney matters — but 
a devilish creditable sort of pretense. He liked the 
ladylike, " nice " pretenses, of women of the right sort 
— liked them when they fooled him, liked them when 
they only half fooled him. 

Presently he knocked on the door of the little library, 
opened it when permission came in Cyrilla's voice. She 
was reading the evening paper — he did not see the 
glasses she hastily thrust into a drawer. In that soft 
light she looked a, scant thirty, handsome, but for his 
taste too intellectual of type to be attractive — except 
as a friend. 

" Well," said he, as he lit a cigarette and dropped the 
match into the big copper ash-bowl, " I'll bat you can't 
guess what I've been up to." 

" Making love to Miss Stevens," replied she. " And 
very foolish it is of you. She's got a steady head — 
in that way." 
, " You're mighty right," said he heartily. " And I 
admire her for that more than for anything else. I'd 
trust hier anywhere." 

"You're paying yourself a high compliment," 
laughed Cyrilla. 

"How's that?" inquired he. "You're too subtle 
fhr me. I'm a bit slow." 

Mrs. Brindley decided against explaining. It was 
not wise to risk raising an unjust doubt in the mind 
of a man who fancied that a woman who resisted him 
would be adamant to every other man. " Then I've got 
to guess again ? " said she. 

«S4 ' 


I ve been uking her to marry me." .aid Stanley, 
who could contain it no longer. " Mr.. B. wa. released 
from me to-day by the court in Providence." 

"But the'» not free," .aid Cyrilla, a little .everely. 

Stanley looked confu.ed, finally .aid: "Ye., .he i.. 
It*, a queer .tory. Don't lay anything. I can't ex- 
plain. I know I can truit you to keep a doae mouth." 

" Mmding my own bu.inet- i. my one' aupivme tal- 
ent," .aid Cyrilla. 

♦' She hasn't accepted me — in «o many words," pur- 
sued Baird, "but I've hopes that it'll come out all 

" Naturally," commented Cyrilla dryly. 
"I know I'm not — not objectionable to her. And 
how I do love her!" He settled himself at his ease. 
" I can't believe if. really me. I never thought I'd 
marry — just for love. Did you? " 

•'You're very self-indulgent," said Cyrilb. 

" You mean I'm marrying her because I can't get 
her any other way. There's where you're wrong, Mrs. 
Brindley. Pm marrying her because I don't want her 
any other way. That's why I know it's love. I didn't 
think I was capable of it. Of course, I've been rather 
strong after the ladies all my life. You know how it 
18 with men." 

"I do," said Mrs. Brindley. 

" No, you don't either," retorted he. « You're one 
of those cold, stand-me-ofF women who can't compre- 
hend the nature of man." 

" As you please," said she. In her eyes there was a 
gleam that more than suggested a possibility of some 


E m 

man — lomc imm At might fancy — Mcing u amu- 
ingiy difTcrent Cyrilla Brindley. 

"I may My I wat daft about pretty women," con- 
tinued Baird. " I never read an item about a pretty 
woman in the papen, or law a picture of a pretty woman 
that I didn't wiih I knew her — well. Can you imagine 
that? " laughed he. 

"Commonplace," laid CyriUa. "All men are lo. 
That'i why the papen alwayi deicribe the woman a* 
pretty and why the picture* are publiehed." 

"Really? Ve», I luppoee w." Baird looked cha- 
grined. "Anyhow, here I am, all for one woman. 
And why? I can't explain it to myielf. She's pretty, 
lovely, entrancing lometimei. She hai charm, grace, 
•weetncM. She dreues well and carries herself with * 
kind of sweet haughtiness. She looks as if she knew a 
lot — and nothing bad. Do you know, I can't imagine 
her having been married to that beast! I've tried to 
imagine it. I simply can't." 

" I shouldn't try if I were you," said Mrs. Brindley. 

" But I was talking about why I kive her. Does this 
bore you?" 

« A little," lau^ied Cyrilla. " I'd rather hear some 
man talking about .my charms. But go on. You are 
amusing, in a way." 

" I'll wager I am. You never thought I'd be caught? 
I believed I was immune — vaccinated against it. I 
thought I knew all the tricks and turns of the sex. Yet 
here I am ! " 

"What do you think caught you?" 

"That's the mystery. It's simply that I cant do 


without her. Everything ahe looki and Myi and doen 
intemtt me more than anything elw in the world. And 
when I'm not with her I'm wiihing I were and wondering 
how ihe'i looking or what ihe'i laying or doing. You 
dont think she'll refuie meF" This U^' vith real 

" I haven't an idea," replied Mn. Br'iviie^ " Slc's 
— peculiar. In some moodi the wou'i' I,\ ulh:-s, nhc 
couldn't. And I've never been able to si>< ;.e to -i.y < a 
■•faction which kind of mood wh , the •< <.i y,hry 

" She if queer, isn't »he? " laid Stanley tlioviKntfi, ■•, 
"But I've told her ihe'd be free to go "i .itii th( 
career. Fact is, I want her to do it." 

Mn. Brindley's eyes twinkled. " Vou think it would 
justify you to your set in marrying her, if she made 
a great hit?" 

Stanley blushed ingenuously. " I'll not deny that has 
something to do with it," he admitted. "And why 

" Why not, indeed? " said she. « But, after she had 
made the hit, you'd want her to quit the stage and take 
her place in society. Isn't that so? " 

"You are a keen one," exclaimed he admiringly. 
"But I didnt say that to her. And you won't, will 
you? " 

" It's hardly necessary to ask that," said Mrs. Brind- 
ley. " Now, suppose — You don't mind my talking 
about this?" 

" What I want," repUed he. " I can't talk or think 
anything but her." 



" Now, suppoae she shouldn't make a hit. Suppose 
she should fail — should not develop reliable voice 
enough? " 

Stanley looked frightened. "But she can't fail," 
he cried with over-energy. " There's no question about 
her voice." 

" I understand," Mrs. Brindley hastened to say. " I 
was simply making conversation with her as tiie sub- 

« Oh, I see." Stanley settied back. 

" Suppose she should prove -.ot to be a great artist — 
what then?" persisted Cyrilla, who was deeply inter- 
ested in the intricate obscure problem of what people 
really thought as distinguished from what they pro- 
fessed and also from what they imagined they thought. 

" The fact that she's a great artist — that's part of 
her," said Baird. " If she weren't ;t great singer, she 
wouldn't be she — don't you see?" 

" Yes, I see," said Mrs. Brindley with an ironic sad- 
ness which she indulged openly because there was no 
danger of his understanding. 

" I don't exactly love her because she amounts to a 
lot — or is sure to," pursued he, vaguely dissatisfied 
with himself. " It's just as she doesn't care for me be- 
cause I've got the means to take care of her ri^t, yet 
that's part of me — and she'd not be able to marry me 
if I hadn't. Don't you see? " 

" Yes, I see," said Mrs. Brindley with more irony 
and less sadness. " There's always some reason beside 

" I'd say there's always some reason for love," said 


Baird, and he felt th'at he had said something briUiant — 
a. M the habit of people of sluggish mentality when 
they say a thing they do not themselves understand. 
You don't doubt that I love her? " he went on. « Why 
should I ask her to marry me if I didn't? " 
" I suppose that settles it," said CyriUa. 
" Of course it does," declared he. 
For aiv hour he sat there, talking on, most of it a 
pretty dull kind of drivel. Mrs. Brindley listened pa- 
tiently, because she liked him and because she had 
nothing else to do until bedtime. At last he rose with 
a long sigh and said: 

" I guess I might as well be going." 
"She'll not come in to-night again," -said Cyrilla 

He laughed « You are a good one. I'll own up, 
I've been staying n partly in the hope that she'd come 
back. But it's been a great joy to talk to you about 
her. I know you love her, too." 

" Yes, I'm extremely fond of her," said she. « I've 
not known many women — many people without petty 
mean tricks. She's one." 

" Isn't she, though? " exclaimed he. 
^^ "I don't mean she's perfect," said Mrs. Brindley. 
" I don't even mean that she's as angelic as you think 
her. I'd not like her, if she were. But she's a superior 
kind of human." 

She was tired of him now, and got him out speedily 
As she closed the front door upon him, Mildred's door, 
down the hall, opened. Her head appeared, an inquir- 
ing look upon her face. Mrs. Brindley nodded. Mil- 


drcd, her hair done close to her head, a dressing-robe 
over her nightgown and her bare feet in little slippen, 
came down the hall. She coiled herself up in a big 
chair in the library and lit a cigarette. She looked 
like a handsome young boy. 

" He told you? " she said to Mrs. Brindley. 

« Yes," replied Cyrilla. 

Silence. In all their intimate acquaintance there had 
never been an approach to the confidential on either 
side. It was Cyrilla's notion that confidences were a 
mistake, and that the more closely people were thrown 
together the more Resolutely they ought to keep certain 
barriers between them. She and Mildred got on too 
admirably, liked each other too well, for there to be 
any trifling with their relations — and over-intimacy 
inevitably led to trifling. Mildred had restrained her- 
self because Mrs. Brindley had compelled it by rigid 
example. Often she had longed to talk things over, 
to ask advice ; but she had never ventured further than 
generalities, and Mrs. Brindley had never proffered 
advice, had never accepted opportunities to give it ex- 
cept in the vaguest way. She had taught Mild]*ed a 
great deal, but always by example, by doing, never by 
saying what ought or oug^t not to be done. Thus, 
such development of Mildred's character as there had 
been was natural and permanent. 

" He has put me in a peculiar position," said Mil- 
dred. ««0r, rather, I have let myself drift into a 
peculiar positiom For I think you're right in saying 
that oneself is always to blame. Won't you let me talk 
about it to you, please? I know you hate confidences. 


But I've got to_to Ulk. rd like you to advise me. 
If yott c^. But even if jro„ don't, ifU do me good to 
•ay thingi aloud." 
, " Often one seei more clearly," was CyriUa's reply _ 
noncommittal, yet not discouraging. 

" I'm free to marry him," Mildred werit on. « That 
18, I'm not married. I'd rather not explain — " 

"Don't," said Mr,. Brindley. "It's unnecessary." 

You know that it's Stanley who has been lending 

me the money to live on while I study. Well, from 

the beg.nmng I've been afraid I'd find myself in . 

difficult position." 

« NaturaUy." said Mrs. Brindley. a, she pau«d. 

But I ve always expected it to come in another 

'"y — not about marriage, but " 

"I understand," «iid Mrs. Brindley. "You feared 
you d be called on to pay in the way women usually 
pay debts to men." ^ 

Mildred nodded. « But this is worse than I expected 
— much worse." ^ 

"I hadn't thought of that," said Cyrilla. "Yes 
you're right. If he had hinted the other thing, you' 
could have pretended not to understand. If he Ld 
«.ggested it, you could have made him feel cheap and 

"I did," said Mildred. « He has been _ really won- 
derful — better than almost any man would have been — 
more considerate than I deserved. And I took advan- 
tage of it." 

"A woman has to," said Cyrilla. "The flght be- 
tween men and women is so unequal." 


I'::' mm 

"I took advantage of him," repeated Mildred. 
"And he apologized, and I — I went on taking the 
money. I didn't know what else to do. I»n't that 

"Nothing to be proud of," said Cyrilla. "But a 
very usual transaction." 

"And then," pursued Mildred, "I discovered that 
I — that I'd not he able to make a career. But still 
I kept on, though I've been trying to force myself to — 
to show some pride and self-respect. I discovered it 
only a short time ago, and it wasn't really until to-day 
that I was absolutely sure." 
"You are sure?" 

« There's hardly a doubt," replied Mildred. " But 
never mind that now. I've got to make a living at 
something, and while I'm learning whatever it is, I've 
got to have money to live on. And I can get it only 
from him. Now, he asks me to marry him. He 
wouldn't ask me if he didn't think I was going to be 
a great singer. He doesn't know it, but I do." 
Mrs. Brindley smiled sweetly. • 

" And he thinks that I love him, also. If I accept 
him, it will be under doubly false pretenses. If I refuse 
him I've got to stop taking the money." 

A long silence ; then Mrs. Brindley said: " Women — 
the good ones, too -^ often feel that they've a right to 
treat men as men treat them. I think almost any woman 
would feel justified in putting off the crisis." 

" You mean, I might tell him I'd give him my answer 
when I was independent and had paid back." 

Cyrilla nodded. Mildred relit her cigarette, which 


she had let go out. " I had thought of that," said she. 
"But — I doubt if he'd tolerate it. Also"— she 
laughed with the peculiar intonation that accompanies 
the lifting of the veil over a deeply and carefully hidden 
comer of one's secret self — « I am afraid. If I don't 
marry him, in a few weeks, or months at most, he'll 
probably find out Gat I shall never be a great singer, 
and then I'd not be able to marry him if I wished to." 

" He w a tempUtion," said Cyrilla. " That is, his 
money is — and he personally is very nice." 

" I married a man I didn't care for," pursued Mil- 
dred. •• I don't want ever to do that again. It is — 
even in the best circumstances — not agreeable, not as 
simple as it looks to the inexperienced girls who ar« 
always doing it" 

" Still, a woman can endure that sort of thing," said 
Mrs. Brindley, « unless she happens to be in love with 
another man." She was observing the unconscious Mil- 
dred narrowly, « gUte of inward tension and excitement 
hinted in her face, but not in her voice. 

"That's just it," said Mildred, her face carefully 
averted. "I — I happen to be in love with another 

A spasm of pain crossed Cyrilla's face. 

"A man who cares nothing about me — and never 
will. He's just a friend — so much the friend that he 
couldn't possibly think of me as — as a woman, needing 
him and wanting him "— her eyes were on fire now, and 
a soft glow had come into her cheeks — "and never 
daring to show it because if I did he would fly and never 
let me see him again." 



Cjrrill* Briixfley'a fan was tragic at dK looked at 
the beautiful girl, so gneetmUy adjuited to the big 
«hair. She lighed covertlj. " You are lovely," the 
taid, "and yooMg — above «H, young." 

"Thii man is peculiar," replied Mildred foriomly. 
" Anyhow, he doew't want mt. He knows me for the 
futile, weali, worthless creature I am. He saw thimigh 
my bluff, even be^cre I saw through it myself. If it 
weren't for him, I could go ahead — do the sensible 
thing — do as women usually do. But — " She came 
to a full stop. 

"Love is a woman's tense of honor," taid Cyrilla 
toftly. " We're merciless and unscrupulous — any- 
thing — everything — where we don't love. But where 
we do love, we'll go farther for honor than the most 
honorable man. That's why we're both worse and bet- 
ter than men — and seem to be so contradictory and 

" I'd do anything for him," said Mildred. She smiled 
drearily. " And he wants nothing." 

She had nothing more to say. She had talked herself 
out about Stanley, and her mind was now filled with 
thoughts that could not be spoken. As she rose to 
go to bed, she koked appealingly at Cyrilla. Then, 
with a sudden and shy rush she flung her arms round 
her and kissed her. " Thank you — so much," she said. 
" You've done me a world of good. Saying it s.U out 
loud before you has made me see. I know nay own 
mind, now." 

She did not note the pathetic tenderness of Cyrilla's 
face aa she said, " Good night, Mildred." But the did 


note the use of her first name — and her own right fimt 
ii«ne — for the first time since they had known each 
other. She embraced and kissed her again. "Good 
nii^t, CjrriHa," the said gratefully. 

As she entered Jennings's studio the next day he looked 
at her; and when Jennings looked, he saw — as must 
anyone who lives well by playing upon human natur«. 
He did not like her expression. She did not habitually 
smile; her Ught-heartedness, her optimism, did not show 
themselves in that inane way. But this seriousness of 
hers was of a new kind, of the kind that bespeaks sobri- 
ety and saneness of soul. And that kind of serious- 
ness — the deep, inward gravity of a person whose 
days of trifling with themselves and with the facts of 
life, and of being trifled with, are over — would have 
impressed Jennings equally had she come in laughing, 
had her every word been a jest 

" No, I didn't come for a lesson — at least not the 
usual kind," said she. 

He was not one to yield without a struggle. Also 
he wished to feel his way to the meaning of this new 
mood. He put her music on the rack. "We'll begin 
where, we — " 

"This half -hour of your time is mine, is it not?" 
said she quieUy. « Let's not waste any of it. Yestei'- 
day you told me that I could not hope to make a career 
because my voice is unreliable. Why is it unreliaUeP " 

"Because you have a delicate throat," tepXM he, 
yielding at once vfhert he instinctively knew he could 
not win. * 




" Then why can I ling so well lometimet? '* 

'* Became your throat is in good condition tome days 

— in perfect condition." 

" It's the colds then — and the slight attacks of 
, colds? •» 


" If I did net catch colds — if I kept perfectly well 

— could I I1p^ Hi .ny voice? " 

" But thc/''( impossible," said he. 


" You're not strong enough." 

" Then I 'haven't the physical strength for a career? " 

" That — and also you are lacking in muscular de- 
velopment. But after several years of lessons — " 

" If I developed my muscles — if I became strong — " 

" Most of the great singers come from the lower 
classes — from people who do manual labor. They did 
manual labor in their youth. You girls of the better 
class have to overcome that handicap." 

" But so many of the great singers are fat." 

" Yes, and under that fat you'll find great ropes of 
muscle — like a blacksmith." 

" What Keith meant," she said. " I wonder — 
Why do I Mtteh cold so easily? Why do I almost al- 
ways iMve a alight catch in the throat? Have you 
noticed that I nearly always have to clear my throat 
just a little?" 

Her expression held him. He hesitated, tried to 
evade, gave it up. " Until that passes, you can never 
hope to be a thoroughly reliable singer," said he. 

*' That is, I can't hope to make a career? " 


Hif filence waa asaent. 

•• But I have the voice? " 

" You have the voice." 

"An unuaual voice?" 

" Yea, but not ao unuaual aa might be thought. Aa 
a matter of fact, there are thouaanda of fine voicea. 
The trouble la in reliability. Only a few are reliable." 

She nodded alowly and thoughtfully. " I begin to 
underatand what Mr. Keith meant," ahe aaid. " I be- 
gin to aee what I h.^'. >> to do, and how — how impoaaible 
it ia.» 

" By no meana," declared Jenninga. " If- 1 did not 
think otherwiae, I'd not be giving my time to you." 

She looked at him gravely. Hia eyea shifted, then 
returned defiantly, aggresaively. She aaid: 

"You can't help me to what I want. So thia ia 
my laat leaaon — for the present. I may come back 
some day — when I am ready for what you have to 

" You are going to give up? " 

" Oh, no — oh, dear me, no," replied she. " I realize 
that you're laughing in your sleeve as I say ao, because 
you think I'll never get anywhere. But you — and 
Mr. Keith — may be mistaken." She drew from her 
muff a piece of mUsic — the " Batti Batti," from " Don 
Giovanni." "If you please," said she, "we'll spend 
the rest of ray time in going over this. I want to be 
able to sing it as well as possible." 

Ht looked searchingly at her. " If you wish," said 
he. « But I doubt if you'll be able to sing at all." 

"On the contrary, my cold's entirely gone," replied 

II"' ' ' 

m lliii 

■lit -'.•i.msi 


■he. " I had an exciting evening, I doctored myielf be- 
fore I went to bed, and three or four timet in the night. 
I found, thi* morning, that I could ling." 

And it wai lo. Never had ihe sung better. " Like 
a true artiit ! " he declared with an enthuiiaim that had 
a foundation of sincerity. " You know, Miss Stevens, 
jrou came very near to having that rarest of all gifts — 
a naturally placed voice. If you hadn't had singing 
teachers as a girl to make you self-conscious and to teach 
you wrong, you'd have been a wonder." 
" I may get it back," said Mildred. 
" That never happens," replied he. « But I can al- 
' most do it." 

He coached her for half an hour ftraight ahead, 
sending the next pupil into the adjoining room — an 
unprecedented transgression of routine. He showed 
her for the first time what a teacher he could be, when 
he wished. There was an astonishing difference be- 
tween her first singing of the song and her sixth 
and last — for they went through it carefully five 
times. She thanked him and then put out her hand, 

" This is a long good-by." 
"To-morrow," replied he, ignoring her hand 
" No. My money is all gone. Besides, I have no 
time for amatsur 'rifling." 

"Your lessoiij are paid tn until the end of the 
month. This is only the nineteenth." 

" Then you are so much in." Again she put out her 

He to^ it. « You owe me an explanation." 


She finiled mockingly. « A. • friend of mine mti, 
^*nt Mk question, to which you alieady know the «n- 

And she departed, the smile still on her charming 
face, but the new seriousness beneath it. As sKe had 
anticipated, she found Stanley Baird waiting for her 
in the drawing-room of the apartment Being by 
habit much interested in his own emotions and not at 
all in the emotions of others, he saw only the healthful 
radiance the sharp October air had put into her cheeks 
and eyes. Certainly, to look at Mildred Gower was to 
get no impression of lack of health and strength. Her 
gUce wavered a little at sight of him, then the expres- 
sion of firmness came back. 

" You look like that picture you gave me a long time 
ago, said he. " Do you remember it ? " 
She did not. 

"It has a — different expression," he went on. « I 
don t think Pd have noticed it but for Keith. I hap- 
pened to show it to him one day, and he stared at it in 
that way he has — you know? " 

" Yes, I know," said Mildred. She was seeing those 
uncanny, brilliant, penetrating eyes, in such startling 
contrast to the cahn, lifeless coloring and classic chisel- 
ing of features. 

"And after^a while he said, 'So, that's Miss Stev- 
ens. And I asked him what he meant, and he took 
one of your later photos and put the two side by side. 
To my notion the later was a lot the more attractive, 
for the face was rounder and softer and didn't have a 
cerUin kind of -well, hardness, as if you had a will 












I6SJ Eott Moin StrMt 

Rochaiter, N«w York 14609 USA 

(716) 482 - 0300 - Phon« 

(716) 28S - 5989 - Fo. 




Not thiit you look so 


:: kin. 

and could ride rough shod, 
frightfully unattractive." 

" I remember the picture," interrupted Mildred, 
was taken when I was twenty — just after an 

" The face wai thin," said Stanley. « Keith called it 
a ' give away.' " 

" I'd like to see it," said Mildred. 

"I'll try to find it. But I'm afraid I can't. I 
haven't seen it since I showed it to Keith, and when I 
hunted for it the other day, it didn't turn up. I've 
changed valets several times in the last six months — " 

But Mildred had ceased listening. Keith had seen the 
picture, had called it a " give away," had been inter- 
ested in it — and the picture had disappeared. She 
laughed at her own folly, yet she wa^ glad Stanley had 
given her this chance to make up a silly day-dream. 
She waited until he had exhausted himself on the sub- 
ject of valets, their drunkenness, their thievish habits, 
their incompetence, then she said: 

" I took my last lesson from Jennings to-day." 

"What's the matter? Do you want to change? 
You didn't say anything about it? Isn't he good?" 

" Good enough. But I've discovered that my voice 
isn't reliable, and unless one has a reliable voice there's 
no chance for a grand-opera career — or for comic 
opera, either." 

Stanley was straightway all agitation and protest. 
" Who put that notion in your head? There's nothing 
in it, Mildred. Jennings is crazy about your voice, 
and he knows." 




What Im saj^ing is the truth. Stanley, our beauti- 
lul dream of a career has winked out." 

His expression was most revealing. 

"And." she went on, "I'm not going to take any 
more of your money — and, of course, I'U pay back 
what I've borrowed when I can "— she smiled — « which 
may not be very soon." 

" What's all this about, anyhow ? » demanded he. « 1 
don't see any sign of it in your face. You wouldn't 
take it so coolly if it were so." 

« I don't understand why I'm not wringing my hands 
and weepmg," replied she. « Every few minutes I tell 
myself that I ought to be. But I stay quite calm. I 
suppose I'm — sort of stupefied." 

"Do you really mean that you've given up? " cried 

" It's no use to waste the money, Stanley. I've got 
the voice, and that's what deceived us all. But there's 
nothing behind the voice. With a great singer the 
greatness is in what's behind the voice, not in the voice 

''I don't believe a word of it," cried he violently. 

You ve been discouraged by a little cold. Every- 
body has colds. Why, in this climate the colds are al- 
ways getting the Metropolitan singers down." 

"But they've got strong throats, and my throat's 

" You must go to a better climate. You ought to be 
•broad, anyhow. That was part of my plan - for us 
to go abroad-" He stopped in confusion, reddened. 







<i? 11J' 

'A y- 


went bravely on — " and you to study there and make 
your dibut." 

Mildred shook her bead. " That's all over," said she. 
" I've got to change my plans entirely." 

" You're a little depressed, that's all. For a minute 
you almost convinced me. What a turn you did give 
me! I forgot how your voice sounded the last time 
I heard it. No, you'd not be so cahn, if you didn't 
know everything was all right." 

Her eyes lit up with sly humor. "Perhaps I'm 
calm because I feel that my future's secure as your wife. 
What more could a woman ask? " 

He forced an uncomfortable laugh. "Of course — 
of course," he said with a painful effort to be easy and 

" I knew you'd marry me, even if I couldn't sing a 
note. I knew your belief in my career had nothing to 
do with it." 

He hesitated, blurted out the truth. "Speaking 
seriously, that isn't quite so," said he. " I've got my 
heart set on your making a great tear — and I know 
you'll do it." 

"And if you knew I wouldn't, you'd not want to 
marry me? " 

« I don't say that," protested he. " How can I say 
how I'd feel if you were different? " 

She nodded. " That's sensible, and it's candid," she 
said. She laid her hand impulsively on his arm. " I 
do like you, Stanley. You have got such a lot of good 
qualities. Don't worry. I'm not going to insist on 
your marrying me." 



"You don't have to do that, Mildred," said he. 
"I'm staring, raving crazy about you, though I'm a 
damn fool to let you know it." 

"Yes, it is ioolish," said she. "If you'd kept me 
worrying — Still, I guess not. But it doesn't matter. 
You can protest and urge all you please, quite safely. 
I'm not going to marry you. Now let's talk busi- 

" Let's talk marriage," said he. « I want this thinij 
settled*. You know you intend to marry me, Mildred. 
Why not say so ? Why keep me gasping on the hook ? " 

They heard the front door open, and the rustling of 
skirts down the hall. Mildred called: 

"Mrs. Brindley! Cyrilla!" 

An instant and Cyrilla appeared in the jrway. 
When she and Baird had shaken hands, Mildred said: 

" Cyrilla, I want you to tell the exact, honest truth. 
Is there any hope for a woman with a delicate throat to 
make a grand-opera career? " 

Cyrilla paled, looked pleadingly at Mildred. 

" Tell him," commanded Mildred. 

" Very little," said Mrs. Brindley. « But — '* 

"Don't try to soften it," interrupted Mildred. 
" The truth, the plain truth." 

" You've no right to draw me into this," cried Cyrilla 
indignantly, and she started to leave the room. 

"I want him to know," said Mildred. "And he 
wants to know." 

"I refuse to be drawn into it," Cyrilla said, and 

But Mildred saw that Stanley had been shaken. She 


proceeded to explain to him at length what a singer's 
career meant — the hardships, the drafts on health and 
strength, the absolute necessity of being reliable, of 
singing true, of not disappointing audiences — what 
a delicate throat meant — how delicate her throat was 
— how deficient she was in the kind of physical strength 
needed — muscular power with endurance back of it. 
When she finished he understood. 

" I'd alwaj 3 thought of it as an art," he said rue- 
fully. "Why, it's mostly health and muscles and 
things that have nothing to do with music." He was 
dazed and oifended by this uncovering of the mechanism 
of the art — by the discovery of the coarse and pain- 
ful toil, the grossly physical basis, of what had seemed 
to him all idealism. He had been fuU of the delusions 
of spontaneity and inspiration, like all laymen, and all 
'artists, too, except those of the higher ran'-'s — those 
who have fought their way up to the heights and, so, 
have learned that one does not achieve them by being 
caught up to them gloriously in a fiery cloud, but by 
doggedly and dirtily and sweatily toiling over every inch 
of the cruel climb. 

He sat silent when she had finished. Sh^ waited, 
then said: 

" Now, you see. I release you, and I'll take no more 
money to waste." 

He looked at her with dumb misery that smote her 
heart. Then his expression changed — to the shining, 
hungry eyes, the swollen veins, the reddened counte- 
nance, the watering lips of desire. He seized her in his 
arms, and in a voice trembling with passion, he cried: 


I've it to have you, 

" You must marry me, anyhow ! 

If she had lovtd him, his expression, his impassioned 
voice would have thrilled her. But she did not love him. 
It took all her liking for him, and the memory of all 
she owed him — that unpaid debt! — to enable her to 
push him away gently and to say without any show of 
the repulsion she felt: 

" Stanley, you mustn't do that. And it's useless to 
talk of marriage. You're generous, so you are taking 
pity on me. But believe me, I'll get along somehow." 
" Pity? I tell you I love you," he cried, catching 
desperately at her hands and holding them in a grip 
she could not break. "You've no right to treat me 
like this." 

It was one of those veiled and stealthy reminders of 
obligation habitually indulged in by delicate people 
seeking repayment 9f the debt, but shunning the coarse- 
ness gf direct demand. Mildred saw her opportunity. 
Said she quietly: 

" You mean you want me to give myself to you in 
payment, or part payment, for the money you've loaned 

He released her hands and sprang up. He had 
meant just that, but he had not had the courage, or the 
meanness, or both, to admit boldly his own secret wish. 
She had calculated on this — had calculated well. 
"Mildred!" he cried in a shocked voice. "You so 
lacking in delicacy as to say such a thing!" 

"If you didn't mean that, Stanley, what did you 
mean ? " 







"I was appealing to our friendship — our — our 
love for each other." 

" Then you should have waited until I was free." 

" Good God! " he cried, " don't you see that's hope- 
less? Mildred, be sensible — be merciful." 

" I shall never marry a man when he could justly 
suspect I did it to live off him." 

"What an idea! It's a man's place to support a 
woman ! " 

"I was speaking only of myself. / can't do it. 
And it's absurd for you and me to be .talking about love 
and marriage when anyone can see I'd be marrying you 
only because I was afraid to face poverty and a strug- 

Her manner calmed him somewhat. " Of course it's 
obvious that you've got to have money," said he, « and 
that the only way you can get it is by marriage. But 
there's something else, too, and in my opinion it's the 
principal thing — we care for each other. Why not be 
sensible, Mildred? Why not thank God that as long as 
you have to marry, you can marry someone you care 

" Could you feel that I cared for you, if I married 
you now? " inquired she. 

"Why not? I'm not so entirely lacking in self- 
esteem. I feel that I must count for something." 

Mildred sat silently wondering at this phenomenon so 
astounding, yet a commonplace of masculine egotism. 
She had no conception of this vanity which causes the 
man, at whom the street woman smiles, to feel flattered, 
though he knows full well what she is and her dire ne- 


c«»ity. She could not doubt that he ,«» speaking the 
truth, yet .he could not believe that conceit could lo 
befog common sense in a man who, for all his slowness 
and shallowness, was more than ordinarily shrewd. 

"Even if I thought I loved you," said she, "I 
couldn't be sure in these circumstances that I wasn't 
after your money." 

"Don't worry about that," replied he. « I under- 
sUnd you better than you understand yourself." 
^^ "Let's stop talking about it," said she impatiently. 
I want to explain to you the business side of this." 
She took her purse from the table. "Here are the 
papers." She handed him a check aud a note «I 
made them out at the bank this morning. The note is 
for what I owe you — and draws interest at four per 
cent. The check is for all the money I have left except 
about four hundred dollars. I've some bills I must pay, 
and also I didn't dare quite strip myself. The note may 
not be worth the paper it's written on, but I hope—" 
Before she could prevent him he took the two papers, 
and, holding them out of her reach, tore them to bits 

Her eyes gleamed angrily. « I see you despise me 
-as much as I've invited. But. I'll make them out 
again and mail them to you." 

" You're a silly child," said he gruffly. « We're eo- 
ing to be married." 

She eyed him with amused exasperation. " It's too 
absurd! " she cried. « And if I yielded, you'd be try- 
ing to get out of it." She hesitated whether to tell him 
frankly just how she felt toward him. She decided 
against it, not through consideration — for a woman 




feela no consideration for a man she does not love, if he 
has irritated her — but through being ashamed to say 
harsh things to one whom she owed so much. " It's use- 
less for you to pretend and to plead," she went on. " I 
shall not yield. You'U have to wait unttt I'm free and 

•' You'll marry me then? " 

"No," replied she, laughing. "But I'll be able to 
refuse you in such a way that you'U believe." 

" But you've got to marry, Mildred, and right away. 
A suspicion entered his mind and instantly gleamed in 
his eyes. " Are you in love with someone else? " 
She smiled mockingly. 

« It looks as if you were," he went on, arguing with 
himself aloud. " For if you weren't you'd marry me, 
even though you didn't like me. A woman in your fix 
simply couldn't keep herself from it Is that why 
you're so calm?" 

" I'm not marrying anybody," said she. 
« Then what are you going to do? " 
« You'll see." 

Once more the passionate side of his nature showet 
— not merely grotesque, unattractive, repellent, as u 
the mood of longing, but hideous. Among men Stan 
ley Baird passed for a man of rather arrogant am 
violent temper, but that man who had seen him at hi 
most violent would have been amazed. The temper mei 
show toward men bears smaU resemblance either in kin 
or in degree to the temper of jealous passion they shoi 
toward the woman who baffles them or arouses their sui 
picions; and no man would recognize his most iUtimaJ 

!i.; ii' 




man friend -or him.elf_whcn in at paroxy.m. 
Mildred had seen this mood, gleaming .t her through 
a mask, in General Siddall. It had made her sick with 
fear and repulsion. In Stanley Baird it first astounded 
her, then filled her with hate. 
" Stanley ! •» she gasped. 

" Who is it? " he gr-jund out between his teeth. And 
he seized her savagely. 

"If you don't release me at once," said she cMmly, 
" I shaU call Mrs. Brindley, and have you put out of 
the house. No matter if I do owe you all that money." . 
"Stop!" he cried, releasing her. "You're very 
clever, aren't you? — turning that against me and mak- 
ing me powerless." 

"But for that, would you dare presume to touch 
me, to question me?" said she. 

He lowered his gaze, stood panting with the effort to 
subdue his fury. 

She went b^ck to her own room. A few hours later 
came a letter of apology from him. She answered it 
friendh'y, said she would let him know when she could 
see him again, and enclosed a note and a check. 




Miu>mKi> went to bed that night proud of her 
strength of character. Were there nMny women — 
wa« there any other woman ahe knew or knew about — 
who in her desperate circumstances would have done 
what *hi: had done? She could have married a man 
who would have given her wealth and the very best 
social position. She had refused him. She could have 
continued to "borrow" from him the wherewithal 
to keep her in luxurious comfort while she looked about 
at her ease for a position that meant independence. 
She had thrust the temptation from her. All this from 
purely high-minded motives; for other motive there 
could be none. She went to sleep, confident that on the 
morrow she would continue to tread the path of self- 
respect with unfaltering feet. But when morning came 
her throat was once more slightly off — enou^ to make 
it wise to postpone the excursion in search of a trial 
for musical comedy. The excitement or the reaction 
from excitement — it must be the one or Uie other — 
had resulted in weakness showing itself, naturally, at 
her weakest point — that delicate throat. When life 
was calm and orderly, and her mind was at peace, the 
trouble would pass, and she could get a position of some 
kind. Not the career she had dreamed; that was im- 
possible. But she had voice enough for a little part, 


pre.ently fathom the «cret of the c.u.e of her delict. 

The delay of a few day. wa. irritating. She would prefer^d to pu.h straight on. whik her colge 
WM taut. Still, the delay had one advantage".?! 

Tof rr «' *"•'' "' ''^' P'- S-" '"^"d o to the office of the theatrical manager - Cro..- 
ley. ti>e mo.t ,ucce.,ful producer of light, mu.ica- .iece. 
of aU kind.-, he went to call on .everal of t! „rl. 
-he knew who were more or le.. in touch with ma«er, 
tteatncal. And .he found out ju.t how to proceed t" 
ward acconiph.hing a purpo.e which ought not to be 
difficult for one .uch a voice a. her. and with phy.- 
ical charm, peculiarly fitted for .tage exhibition. 

Not unt. Saturday wa. her voice at it, be.t again. 
She naturally, decided not to go to the theatrical ^ce 

w^K rt^' ^* *° "'" ""*" '^' ^""^ '**» '"d flk^l 
with Keith One more day did not matter, and Keith 

nught be .timulating, might even have .o.i,e useful .ua- 
gction. to offer. She received him with a manner that 
wa. a vewion, and a mo.t charming version, of hi. own 
tranquU indifference. But hi. first remark threw her 
into a panic. Said he: 
•' Pve only a few minutes. No, thanks, I'll not sit." 
You needn't have bothered to come," said she 

"I always keep my engagements. Baird tells me 
you have given up the arrangement you had with him. 
iou U probably be moving from here, as you'D not have 


the money Ur .toy on. Send me your new «Wre.., 
^il" He took . paper f ron. hi. pocket and gave .t 

I her. "You will find this -^f-^^Zri^ 
eamert." said he. «Good-ly, and good luck. lU 
hope to see you in a few weeks." , , . , _.. 

Lore she had recovered herself in the le«t^rf« wm 
rtanding there alone, the paper in her hand, her stupe- 
fied gafe upon the door through which he l-id.-P- 
peari. Afhis movements and his speech had been 
Vf his customary, his invariable, d^hberateness, but she 
had the impression of whirling and ™*"«8 /•«^*;- 
With a long gasping sigh she feU to t«".bhng aU over. 
She sped to her room, got its door safely closed just 
in time. Down she sank upon the bed, to give way to 
an attack of hysterics. 

We are constantiy finding ourselves puttmg forth the 
lovely flowers and fruit of the virtues whereof the heroes 
and heroines of romance are so prolific. UsuaUy noth- 
ing occurs to disillusion us about ourselves. But now 
and then fate, « unusually brutal iron.c mood, forces 
„, to see the real reason why we did thU or *»V1"" 
ous, .elf-«icrificing action, or blos«.med f<"*;« .«»^ 
or that nobility of character. MUdred '»»«i 
now to suffer one of these savage blows of disdlus.on- 
ment about self that thrust us down from the exalted 
moral heights where we have been preening mto h^- 
ble kinship-TPith the weak and frail human race. She 
gaw why she had refused Stanley, why she had stopped 
"borrowing." why she had put off going to the theat- 
rical managers, why she had delayed moving mto qw- 
ten within her diminished and rapidly dimmishing 


means. She had been counting on Donald Keith. She 
had convinced herself that he loved her even as she loved 
him. He would fling away his cold reserve, would burst 
mto raptures over her virtue and her courage, would 
ask her to marry him. Or, if he should put off that, 
he would at least undertake the responsibility of getting 
her started in her career. Well! He had come; he 
had shown that Stanley had told him all or practicaUy 
all; and he had gone, without asking a sympathetic 
question or making an encouraging remark. As in- 
different as he seemed. Burnt out, cold, heartless. 
She had leaned upon him; he had slipped away, leaving 
her to fall painfully, and ludicrously, to the ground. 
She had been boasting to herself that she was strong, 
that she would of her own strength establish herself in 
mdependence. She had not dreamed that she would-be 
called upon to " make good." She raved against Keith, 
against herself, against fate. And above the chaos and 
the wreck within her, round and round, hither and yon, 
flapped and shied the black thought, « What thaU I 
do? " 

When she gat up and dried her eyes, she chanced to 
see the paper Keith had left; with wonder at her hav- 
ing forgotten it and with a throb of hope she opened 
and began to read his small, difficult writing: 

A career means self-denial. Not occasional, intermit- 
tent, but steady, constant, daUy, hourly — a purpose that 
never relaxes. r - 

A career as a singer means not only the routine, the 
patient tedions work, the cutting out of time-wasting people 
»?d time-wasting pleas uie* that are necessary to any and 

r ".ly^ii^^p^'^i^- -^-J' 



M iilifj! 


all careers. It means in addition — for such a person — 
sacrifices far beyond a character so ondisciplined and so 
corrupted by conventional life as is yours. The basis of a 
singing career is health and strength. You must have 
great physical strength to be able to sing operas. You 
must have perfect health. 

Diet and exercise. A routine life, its routine rigidly 
adhered to, day in and day out, month after month, year 
after year. Small and uninteresting and monotonous food, 
nothing to drink, and, of course, no cigarettes. Such is 
the secret of a reliable voice for you who have a " delicate 
throat" — which is the silly, fallow, and misleading way 
of saying a delicate digestion, for sore throat always 
means indigestion, never means anything else. To sing, 
the instrument, the absolutely material machine, must be 
in perfect order. The rest is easy. 

Some singers can commit indiscretions of diet and of 
lack of exercise. But not you, because you lack this 
natural strength. Do not be deceived and misled by their 

Exercise. You must make your body strong, powerful. 
You have not the muscles by nature. You must acquire 

The following routine of diet and exercise made one of the 
great singers, and kept her great for a quarter of a century. 
If you adopt it, without variation, you can make a career. 
If you do not, you need not hope for anything but failure 
and humiliation. Within my knowledge sixty-eight young 
men and young women have started in on this system. Not 
one had the character to persist to success. This may sug- 
gest why, except two who are at the very top, all of the 
great singers are men and women whom nature has made 
powerful of body and of digestion — so powerful that 
their indiscretions only occasionally make them nnreliable. 

There Mildred stopped and flung the paper aside. 
She did not care even to glance at the exercises pre- 


scribed or at the diet and the routine of daily work. 
How dull and uninspired! How grossly material! 
Stomach! Chewmg! Exercising machines! Plodding 
dreary miles daily, rain or shine! What could such 
thwgs have to do with the free and glorious career of 
an mspjred singer? Keith was kughing at her as he 
hastened away, abandoning her to her fate 

She examined herself in the glass to make sure that 
the ravages of her attack of rage and grief and despair 
could be effaced within a few hours, then she wrote a 
note -formal yet friendly -to Stanley Baird, inform- 
ing hjm that she would receive him that evening He 
came while Cyrilla and Mildred were having their after- 
dmner coffee and cigarettes. He was a man who took 
great pams with his clothes, and got them where pains 
was not in vain. That evening he had arrayed himself 
with unusual care, and the result was a fine, manly figure 
of the well-bred New-Yorker type. Certainly Stanley 
had ground for his feeling that he deserved and got lik- 
ing for himself. The three sat in the library for per- 
haps half an hour, then Mrs. Brindley rose to leave the 

1, K 7u • ^"''"'' '"■«^'* ^'' t" 't«y - Mildred 
who had been impatient of her presence when Stanley 
was announced. Urged her to stay in such a tone that 
Cynlla could not persist, but had to sit down again 
As the three talked on and on, Mildred continued to pic- 
ure life with Stanley - continued the vivid picturing 
he had begun withm ten minutes of Stanley's entering 
the picturmg that had caused her to insist on Cyrilla's 
renuunmg as chaperon. A young girl can do no such 
picturmg as Mildred could not avoid doing. To the 





young girl married life, its t4te-i-tJte«, its intimaciei, 
its routine, are all a blank; Any attempt »he makeg to 
fill in details goes far astray. But Mildred, with Stan- 
ley there before her, could see her life as it would be. 

Toward half -past ten, Stanley said, shame-faced and 
pleading, " Mildred, I should Uke to see you alone for 
just a minute before I go." 

Mildred said to CyrUla: « No, don't move. We'll 
go into the drawing-room." 

He followed her there, and when the sound of Mrs. 
Brindley's step in the hall had died away, he began: 
" I think I understand you a little now. I shan't in- 
sult you by returning or destroying that note or the 
check. I accept your decision — unless you wish to 
change it." He looked at her with eager appeal. His 
heart was trembling, was sick with apprehension, with 
the sense of weakness, of danger and gloom ahead. 
"Why shouldn't I help you, at least, Mildred?" he 

Whence the courage came she knew not, but through 
her choking throat she forced a positive, « No." 

" And," he went on, " I meant what I said. I love 
you. I'm wretched without you. I want you to marrv 
me, career or no career." 

Her fears were clamorous, but she forced herself to 
say, " I can't change." 

« I hoped — a little — that you sent me the note to- 
day because you — You didn't?" 

"No," said Mildred. "I want us to be friends. 
But you must keep away." 

He bent his head. " Then I'll go 'way off somewhere. 


I can't bear being here in New York and not seeing 
you. And when I've been away a year or so, perhaps 
I'll get control of myself again." 

Going away! — to try to forget! — no doubt, to 
succeed in forgetting! Then this was her last chance. 

" Must I go, Mildred? Won't you relent? " 

"I don't love you — and I never can." She was 
deathly white and trembling. She lifted her eyes to be- 
gin a retreat, for her courage had quite oozed away. 
He was looking at her, his face distorted with a min- 
gling of the passion of desire and the passion of jeal- 
ousy. She shrank, caught at the back of a chair for 
support, -felt suddenly strong and defiant. To be this 
man's plaything, to submit to his moods, to his jeal- 
ousies, to his caprices — to be his to fumble and caress, 
his to have the fury of his passion wreak itself upon 
her with no response from her but only repulsion and 
loathing — and the long dreary hours and days and 
years alone with him, listening to his commonplaces, 
often so tedious, forced to try to amuse him and to keep 
him in a good humor because he held the purse- 
strings — 

" Please go," she said. 

Shf was still very young, still had years and years 
of youth unspent. Surely she could find something 
better than this. Surely life must mean something more 
than this. At least it was worth a trial. 

He held out his hand. She gave him her reluctant 

and cold fingers. He said something, what she did not 

hear, for the blood was roaring injier ears as the room 

swam round. He was gone, and the next thing she 




definitely knew she wai at the threshold of Cyrill»'( 
room. Cyrilla gave her a tenderly sympathetic glance. 
She saw herself in a mirror and knew why ; her face was 
gray and drawn, and her eyes lay dully deep within 
dark circles. 

" I couldn't do it," she said. " I sent for him to 
marry him. But I couldn't." 

" I'm glad," said Cyrilla. " Marriage without love 
is a last resort. And you're a long way from last re- 

" You don't think I'm crazy? " 
"I think you've won a great victory." 
"Victory!" And Mildred laughed dolefully. "If 
this is victory, I hope I'll never know defeat." 

Why did Mildred refuse Stanley Baird and cut her- 
self oiF from him, even after her hopes of Donald Keith 
died through lack of food, real or imaginary? It 
would be gratifying to offer this as a case of pure cour- 
age and high principle, untainted of the motives which 
govern ordinary human actions. But unluckily this is 
a biography, not a romar ?e, a history and not a eulogy. 
And Mildred Gower is a human being, even as you 
and I, not a galvanized embodiment of superhuman 
virtues such as you and I are pretending to be, per- 
haps even to ourselves. The explanation of her strange 
aberration, which will be doubted or secretly condemned 
by every woman of the sheltered classes who loves her 
dependence and seeks to disguise it as something sweet 
and fine and " womanly " — the e.>planation of her al- 
most insane act of renunciation of all that a lady holds 
most dear is simple enough, puzzling though she found 


it. Ignorance, which accounts for so much of the 
»qualid failure in human life, accounts also for much if 
not all the most splendid audacious achievement. Very 
often— very, very often — the impossibilities are 
achieved by those who in their ignorance advance not 
boldly but unconcernedly, where a wiser man or woman 
would shrink and, retreat. Fortunate indeed is he or 
she who in a crisis is by chance equipped with neither 
too little nor too much knowledge — who knows enough 
to enable him to advance, but does not know enough to 
appreciate how perilous, how foolhardy, how harsh and 
cruel, advance will be. Mildred was in this instance thus 
fortunate — unfortunate, she was presently to think it. 
She knew enough about loveless marriage to shrink 
from it. She did pot know enough about what poverty, 
moneylessness, and friendlessness mean in the actu- 
aUty to a woman bred as she had been. She imagined 
she knew — and sick at heart her notion of poverty 
made her. But imagination was only faint&t fore- 
shadowing of actuality. If she had known, she would 
have yielded to the temptation that was almost too 
strong for her. And if she had yielded — what then? 
Not such a repulsive lot, as our comfortable classes look 
at it. Plenty to eat and drink and to wear, servants 
and equipages and fine houses and fine society, the envy 
of her gaping kind — a comfortable life for the body, 
a comfortable death for mind and heart, slowly and 
softly suffocated in luxury. Partly through knowledge 
that strongly affected her character, which was on the 
whole aspiring and sensitive beyond the average to the 
true and the beautiful, partly through ignorance that 


veiled the future from her none too valorous and hardy 
heart, .he did not yield to the temptation. And thu., 
in.te«l of dying, .he began to live, for what i. hfe but 
growth in experience, in .trength and knowledge and 

capability? .^. • in.. 

A baby enter, the world .cr«ammg with pam. me 
first Mnwtion. of living are agonizing. It i. the .ame 
with the birth of .oulii, for a .oul i. not really born 
until that day when it i. offered choice between Me and 
death and chooses life. In MUdred Gower". case this 
birth was an agony. She awoke the following morn- 
ing with a dull headache, a fainting heart, and a throat 
so sore that she felt a painful catch whenever she tned 
to swallow. She used the spray; she massaged her 
throat and neck vigorously. In vain; it was folly to 
think of going where she might have to risk a tnal of 
her voice that day. The sun was brilliant and the «r 
sharp without being humid or too cold. She dres«Hi, 
breakfasted, went out for a walk. The throat grew 
worse, then better. She returned for luncheon, and 
afterward began to think of packing, not that .he had 
chosen a new place, but because she wished to have some 
sort of a sense of action. But her unhappiness drove 
hereout again -to the park where the air was fine 
and she could walk in comparative solitude. 

«« What a siUy fool I am ! " thought she. « Why did 
I do this in the worst, the hardest possible way? I 
should have held on to Stanley until I had a position. 
No, I'm such a poor creature that I could never have 
done it in that way. I'd simply have kept on blufltog, 
fooling myself, putting off and putting off. I had to 



jump into the water with nobody near to help me, or 
I d never have begun to learn to .wim. I haven't be- 
gun yet. I may never learn to .wim. I may drown. 
Ves, I probably ihall drown." 

She wandered aimlewly on — around the upper reser- 
voir where the stxmg breeze freshened her through and 
through and made her feeljes. forlorn in spite of her 
chicken heart. She crossed the bridge at the lower end 
and oune down toward the East Drive. A taxicab 
rushed by, not so fast, however, that ,he failed to recog- 
nize Donald Keith and CyriUa BrindJey. They were 
talking so earnestly -Keith was talking, for a won- 
der, and Mrs. Brindley listening _ that they did not 
»ee her. She went straight home. But as she was 
afoot, the journey took about half an hour. Cyrilla 
was already there, in a negligee, looking as if she had 
not been out of the little library for hours. She was 
wntmg a letter. Mildred strolled in and seated herself. 
CynUa went on writing. Mildred watched her impa- 
t.enUy. She wished to talk, to be talked to, to be con- 
soled and cheered, to hear about Donald Keith. Would 
that letter never be finished? At last it was, and Cy- 
nUa took a book and settled herself to reading. There 
was a vague something in her manner -a change, an 
attitude toward Mildred - that disturbed Mildred. Or 
was that notion of a change merely the offspring of her 
own somber mood? Seeing thafMrs. Brindley would 
not begin, she broke the silence herself. Said she awk- 
wardly : 

"I've decided to move. In fact, I've got to move." 
Cynlla laid down the book and regarded her tran- 


quiUy. " Of coum," laid the. " I've already begun 
to arrange for someone ebe." 

Mildred choked, and the tean welled into her ey*i. 
She had not been mistaken ; Cyrilla had changed toward 
her. Now that she had no prospecU for a brilliant 
career, now that her money was gone, CyrilU had be- 
.gun to — to be human. Up doubt, in the course of 
that drive, Cyrilla had discovered that Keith had no 
interest in her either. Mildred beat down her emotion 
and was soon able to say in a voice as unconcerned as 

" I'll find a place to-morrow or next day, and go at 
once." > 

" I'll be sorry to lose you," said Mrs. Brindley, " but 
I agree with you that you can't get settled any too 

"You don't happen to know of any cheap, good 
place?" said Mildred 

« If it's cheap, I don't think it's likely to be good — 
in New York," replied CyrilU. « You'll have to put 
up with inconveniences — and worse. I'd offer to help 
you find a place, but I think everything self-reliant one 
does helps one to learn. Don't you? " 

"Yes, indeed," assented Mildred. The thing was 
self-evidently true; still she began to hate Cyrilla. 
This cold-hearted New York! How she would grind 
down her heel when she got it on the neck of New York ! 
Friendship, love, helpfulness —.what did New York and 
New-Yorkers know of these things? "Or Hanging 
Rock, either," reflected she. What a cold and lonely 
world ! 



" Have you been to see about a po«itioi>; " inquired 

Mildred wai thrown into confu»ion. " I can't go — 
for a — day or io,» she .tammered. " The changeable 
weather hai rather upset my throat Nothing se ou,, 
but I want to be at my best." 

"Certainly," .aid Mrs. Brindley. Her direct gaze 
made Mildred uncomfortable. She went on: "You're 
sure it's the weather? " 

"What else could it be?" demanded Mildred with a 
latent resentment whose interesting origin she did not 
pause to inquire into. 

Well, salad, or sauces, or desserts, or cafi au hut in 
the morning, or candy, or tea," said CyriUa. " Or it 
might be cigarettes, or aU those things — and thin 
stockmgs and low shoes — mightn't it? " 

Never before had she known CyriUa to say anything 
meddlesome or cattish. Said Mildred with a faint sneer, 

Ihat sounds like Mr. Keith's crankiness." 

"It is," replied Cyrilla. «I „,ed to think he was a 
crank on the subject of singing and stomachs, and sing- 
ing and ankles. But I've been convinced, partly by 
him, mostly by what I've observed." 

Mildred maintained an icy silence. 

"I see you are resenting what I said," observed 

" Not at all," said Mildred. « No doubt you meant 

" You wfll please remember that you asked me a ques- 
tion." ^ 

So she had. But the discovery that she was clearly 


^ 11 

in the wrong, that ihe had invHad the ditguiicd lecture, 
only agffravatcd her tenie jf reecntment a^ainit Mn. 
Brindley. She ipent the reet t the afternoon in »ort- 
!? and packing her belongingL — and in crying. She 
caine upon the paper Donald Keith had left. She read 
it through carefully, thoughtfully, read it to the lait 
direction aa to exerciie with the machine, the lait ar- 
rangement for a daily routine of life, the laat luggct- 
tion a« to diet. 

"Fortunately all that itn't necetiary," eaid ihe to 
her«elf, when »he had flniihed. " If it were, I could 
never make a career. I'm not itupid enough to be able 
to lead that kind of life. Wbv, I'd not care to make a 
career, at that price. Slavery — plain ilavery." 

When she went in to dinner, she »aw initantly that 
Cyrilla too had been crying. Cyrilla did not look old, 
anythirg but that, indeed wa» not old and would not 
begin to be for many a year. Still, after thirty-five 
or forty a woman cannot indulge a good cry without 
its leaving serious traces that will show hours afterward. 
At sight of the evidences of Cyrilla's grief Mildred 
straightway forgot her resentment. There must have 
been some other cause for Cyrilla's peculiar conduct. 
No matter what, since it was not hardness of heart. 

It was a sad, even a gloomy dinner. _ But the two 
women were once more in perfect sympathy. And 
afterward Mildred brought the Keith and asked 
Cyrilla's opinion. Cyrilla read slowly ami without com- 
ment. At last she said: 

"He got this from his mother, Lucia Rivi. Have 
you read her life?" 



" No. I've heard almoct nothiiiK about ktr, except 
that ahe.wa* famoiu." 

"She wai more than that," laid Mn. Brindlejr. 
" She wa« gnat, a great pcrMmaUty. She wai an al- 
moit »ickly child and girl. Her flnt attempti on the 
rtage were humiliating failures. She had no health, no 
endurance, nothing but a small voice of rare quality." 
Cyrilla held up the paper. " This tells how she became 
one of the soreit and most powerful dramatic sopranos 
that ever lived." 

" She must have been a dul^ person to have been able 
to lead the kind of life that's described there," said Mil- 
dr L 

"Only two kinds of persons could do it," replied 
Cyrilla.— "a dull person — a plodder — and a genius. 
Middling people — they're the kind that fill the woild, 
they're you and I, my dear — middling people have to 
fuss with the trifles that must be sacrificed if one is to 
do anything big. You call those trifles your fiecdom, 
but they're your slavery. And by sacrificing them the 
Lucia Rivis buy their freedom." Cyrilla looked at the 
paper with a heavy sigh. « Ah, I wish I had seen this 
when I was your age. Now, it's too late." 

Said Mildred: "Would you seriously advise me to 
try that?" 

Cyrilla came and sat beside her and put an arm 
around her. « Mildred," she said, " I've never thrust 
advice on you. I only dare do it now because you ask 
me, and because I love you. You must try it. It's 
your one chance. If you do not, you will fail. You 
don't bflieve nH»? " 




In a tone that was admission, Mildred said: "I 
don't know." ' 

" Keith has given you there the secret of a success- 
ful career. You'll never read it in any book, or get it 
froin any teacher, or from any singer or manager or 
doctor. You must live like that, you must do those 
things or you will fail even in musical comedy. You 
would fail even as an actress, if you tried that, when 
you found out that the singing was out of the ques- 

Mildred was impressed. Perhaps she would have 
been more impressed had she not seen Keith and Mrs. 
Brindley in the taxi, Keith talking earnestly and Mrs. 
Brindley listening as if to an oracle. Said she: 
" Perhaps I'll adopt some of the suggestions." 

Cyrilla shook her head. "It's a route to success. 
You must go the whole route or not.^at all." 

" Don't forget that there have been other singers 
besides Rivi." 

" Not any that I recall who weren't naturally power- 
ful in every way. And how many of them break down? 
Mildred, please do put the silly nonsense about nerves 
and temperament and inspiration and overwork and 
weather and climate — put all that out of your head. 
Build your temple of a career as high and graceful 
and delicate as you like, but build it on the coarse, hard, 
solid rock, dear ! " 

Mildred tried to laugh lightly. "How Mr. Keith 
does hyi.-iotize people!" cried she. 

Mrs. Brindley's cheeks burned, and her eyes lowered 
in acute embarrassment. " He has a way of being 


splendidly and sensibly right," said she. "And the 
truth is wonderfully convincing — once one sees it." 
She changed the subject, and it did not come up — or, 
perhaps, come out again — before they went to bed. 
The next day Mildred began the depressing, hopeless 
search for a place to live that would be clean, com- 
fortable, and cheap. Those three adjectives describe 
the ideal lodging; but it will be noted that all these are 
relative. In fact, none of the three means exactly the 
same thing to any two members of the human family. 
Mildred's notion of clean — like her notion of com- 
fortable—on account of her bringing up implied a 
large element of luxury. As, for the word " cheap," it 
r«any meant nothing at all to her. From one stand- 
point everything seemed cheap; from another, every- 
thing seemed dear; that is, too dear for a young woman 
with less than five hundred dollars in th" world and no 
substantial prospect of getting a single dollar more — 
unless by hook and crook, both of which means she was 
resolved not to employ. 

Never having earned so much as a single penny, the 
idea of anyone's giving her anything for what she 
might be able to do was disturbingly vague and unreal. 
On the other hand, looking about her, she saw scores 
of men and women, personally known to her to be dull 
of conversation, and not well mannered or well dressed 
or well anything, who were making livings without over- 
whelming difficulty. Why not Mildred Gower? In 
this view the outlook was not discouraging. « I'll no 
doubt go through some discomfort, getting myself 
placed. But somewhere and somehow I shall be placed 

THE Price she paid 

— and how I ghall revenge myself on Donald Keith!" 
His fascination for her had not been destroyed by his 
humiliating lack of belief in her, nor by his cold-hearted 
desertion at just the critical moment. But- his conduct 
had given her the incentive of rage, of stung vanity — 
or wounded pride, if you prefer. She would get him 
back ; she would force him to admit ; she would win him, 
if she«ould — and that ought not to be difficult when 
she sh'-ild be successful. Having won him, then — 
What then? Something superb in the way of revenge; 
she would decide what, when the hour of triumph came. 
Meanwhile she must search for lodgings. 

In her journey ings upder the guidance of attractive 
advertisements and "carefully selected" agents' Ijrts, 
she found herself in front of her first lodgings- in New 
York — the house of Mrs. Belloc. She had often 
thought of the New England school-teacher, arrived by 
such strange paths at such a strange position in New 
York. She had started to call on her many times, but 
each time had been turned aside; New York makes it 
more than difficult to find time to do anything that does 
, not have to be done at a definite time and for a definite 
reason. She was worn out with her futile traropmgs 
up and down streets, up and down stairs. Up the stone 
steps she went and rang the bell. 

Yes, Mrs. Belloc was in, and would be glad to see 
her, if Miss Stevens would wait in the drawing-room 
a few minutes. She had not seated herself when down 
the stairs came the fresh, pleasantly countrified voire 
of Mrs. Belloc, inviting her to ascend. As Mildred 
started up, she saw at the head of the stairs the frank 


and cheerful face of^he lady herself. She was holding 
together at the neck a thin silk wrapper whose lines 
strongly suggested that it was the only garment she 
had on. 

"Why should old friends stand on ceremony? " said 
Mrs. Belloc. "Come right up. I've been taking a 
bath. My masseuse has just gone." Mrs. Belloc en- 
closed her in a delightfully perf; tied embrace, and they 
kissed with er*'iusiasm. 

" I am glad to see you," said Mildred, feeling all at 
once a thrilling sense of at-homeness. " I didn't realize 
how glad I'd be till I saw you." 

" It'd be a pretty stiff sort that wouldn't feel at home 
with me," observed Mrs. Belloc. " New York usually 
stiffens people "up. It's had the opposite effect on me. . 
Though I must say, I have learned to stiffen with people 
I don't like — and I'll have to admit that I like fewer 
and fewer. People don't wear well, do they? What it 
the matter with them? Why can't they be natural and 
not make themselves into rubbishy, old scrap-bags full 
of fakes And pretenses? You're looking at my hair." 

They were in Mrs. Belloc's comfortable sitting-room 
now, and she was smoking a cigarette and regarding 
Mildred with an expression of delight that was most 
flattering. Said Mildred: 

" Your hair does look well. It's thicker — isn't it? " 

"Think so?" said Mrs. BeUoc. "It ought to be, 
w|th all the time and money I've spent on it. My, how 
New York does set a woman to repairing and fixing up. 
Nothing artificial goes here. It mustn't be paint and 
plumpers and pads, but the real teeth. Why, I've had 


four real teeth set in as if they were rooted — and iity 
hips toned down. You may remember what heavy "legs 
I had — piano-legs. Look at 'em now." Mrs. Belloc 
drew the wrapper to her knee and exposed in a pale- 
blue silk stocking a thin and comely calf. 
" You have been busy ! " said Mildred. 
« That's only a little part. I tell you about 
the hair. It was getting gray — not in a nice, pretty 
way, all over, but in spots and streaks. Nothing else 
makes a woman look so ragged and dingy and old as 
spotted, streaky gray hair. So I had the hair-woman 
touch it up. She vows it won't make my face hard. 
That's the trouble with dyed or touched hair, you know. 
But this is a new process." 

" It's certainly a success," said Mildred. And in fact 
it was, and thanks to it and the other improvements Mrs. 
Belloc was an attractive and even a pretty woman, years 
younger than when Mildred saw her. 

"Yes, I think I've improved," said Mrs. Belloc. 
" Nothing to scream about — but worth while. That's 
what we're alive for — to improve- isn't it? I've no 
patience with people who slide back, or don't get on — 
people who get less and less as they grow older. The 
trouble with them is tiiey're vain, satisfied with them- 
selves as they are, and lazy. Most women are too lazy 
to live. They'll only fix up to catch a man." 
Mildred had grown sober and thoughtful. 
« To catch a man," continued Mrs. Bello<!. " And 
not much even for that. I'll warrant you're getting on. 
Tell me about it." 

"Tell me about yourself, first," said Mildred. 


" Why all this excitement about improving? " And 
she smiled significantly. 

•^ "No, you'll have to guess again," said Mrs. Belloc. 
" Not a man. You remember, I used to be crazy about 
gay life in New York — going out, and men, theaters, 
and lobster-palaces — everything I didn't get in my 
home town, everything tjie city means to the jays 
Well, I've gotten over all that. I'm improving, mind 
and body, just to keep myself interested in life, to keep 
raj .If young and cheerful. I'm interested in myself, 
in my house and in woman's suffrage. Not that the' 
women are fit to vote. They aren't, any more than the 
men. But what make, people? Why, responsibility. 
That old scamp I married — he's dead. And I've gof 
the money, and everything's very comfortable with me. 
Just think, I didn't have any luck till I was an old maid 
far gone. I'm not telling my age. All my life it 
had rained bad luck — pitchforks, tines down. And 
why? " 

" Yes, why? =' said Mildred. She did not understand 
how it was, but Mrs. Belloc seemed to be saying the 
exact things she needed to hear. 

" I'U teU you why. Because I didn't work. Drudg- 
ing along isn't work any more than dawdling along. 
Work means purpose, means head. And my luck be- 
gan just as anybody's does — when I rose up and got 
busy. You may say it wasn't very creditable, the way 
I began ; but it was the best I could do. know it isn't 
good morals, but I'm willing to bet that many a man 
has laid the foundations of a big fine career by doing 
something that wasn't at all nice or right. He had to 


do it, to • get through.' Jf he hadn't done it, he'd never _ 
have • got throuj^.' Anyhow, wheth-r that's bo or not, 
everyone's got to make a fight to break into the part of 
the world where living's really worth living. But I 
needn't tell you that. You're doing it." 

« No, I'm not," replied Mildred. " I'm ashamed to 
say so, but I'm not. I've bee« blufltog — and wasting 

" That's bad, that's bad," said Mrs. Belloc. " Espe- 
cially, as you've got it in you to get there. What's 
been the trouble? TJie wrong kind of associations?" 
" Partly," said Mildred. ""• 

Mrs. Belloc, watching her interestedly, suddenly 
lighted up. " Why not come back here to live? " said 
she. " Now, please don't refuse till I explain. You 
remember what kind of people I had here? " 
Mildred smiled. " Rather — unconventional? " 
"That's polite. Well, I've cleared 'em out. Not 
that I minded their vmconventionality ; I liked it. It 
was so different from the straight- jackets and the hy- 
pocrisy I'd been living among and hating. But I soon 
found out that — well, Miss Stevens, the average humar 
being ought to be pretty conventional in his morals 
of a certain kind. If he — or the — isn't, they begin 
to get unconventional in every way — about paying 
their bills, for instance, and about drinking. I got sick 
and tired of those people. So, I put 'em all out — made 
a sweep: And now I've become quite as respectable as 
I care to be — or as is necessary. The couples in the 
house are married, and they're nice people of good fam- 
ilies. It was Mrs. Dycknian — she's got the whole sec- 


ond floor front, she and her husband and the daughter 
— it was Mrs. Dycktnan who interested me in the suf- 
frage movement. You must hear her speak. And the 
daughter does well at it, too — and keeps a fashionable 
millinery-shop — and she's only twenty-four. Then 
there's Nora Blond." 

"The actress?" 

"The actress. She's the quietest, hardest-working 
person here. She's got the whole first floor front. 
Nobody ever comes to see her, except on Sunday after- 
noon. She leads the queerest life." 

" Tell me about that," said Mildred. 

" I don't know much about it," confessed Mrs. Bel- 
loc. " She's regular as a clock — does everything on 
time, and at the same time. Two meals a day — one 
of them a dry little breakfast she gets herself. Walks, 
fencing, athletics, study." 

"What slavery!" 

" She's the happiest person I ever saw," retorted Mrs. 
Belloc. "Why, she's got her work, her career. You 
'lon't look at it right. Miss Stevens. You don't look 
happy. What's the matter? Isn't it because you 
haven't been working right — because you've been do- 
ing these alleged pleasant things that leave a bad taste 
in your mouth and weaken you? I'll bet, if you had 
been working hard, you'd not be unhappy now. Bet- 
ter come here to live." 

" Will you let me tell you about myself? " 

" Go right ahead. May I ask questions, where I 
want to know more? I do hate to get things half- 



MUdred freely gave her leave, then proceeded to tell 
her whole story, omitting nothing that was essential to 
an understanding. In conclusion she said: "I'd like 
to come. You see, I've very litUe money. When it's 
gone, I'll go, unless I make some more." 

"Yes, you, must come. That Mrs. Brindley seems 
to be a nice woman, a mighty nice woman. But her 
house, and the people that come there — they aren't the 
right sort for a girl that's making a start. I can give 
you a room on the top floor — in front. The young 
lady next to you is a clerk in an architect's office, and 
a fine girl she is." 

" How much does she pay? " said Mildred. 
" Your room won't be quite as nice as hers. I put 
you at the top because you can sing up there, par* ^f 
the mornings and part of the afternoons, without dis- 
turbing anybody. I don't have a general table any 
more. You can take your meals in your room or at the 
restaurant in the apartment-house next door. It's good 
and quite reasonable." 

"How much for the room?" persisted Mildred, 

" Seven dollars a week, and the use of the bath." 
Mildred finally wrung from her that the ri^t price 
was twelve dollars a week, and insisted on paying that 
— " until my money gets low." 

" Don't worry about that," said Mrs. Belloc. 
"You mustn't weaken me," cried Mildred. "You 
mustn't encourage me to be a coward and to shirk. 
That's why I'm coming here." 

" I understand," said Mrs. Belloc. " I've got the 


>few England streak of hardness in me, th«mgh I be- 
heve that masseuse has almost ironed it out of my face. 
Do I look like a New England schoolmarm? » 

Mildred could truthfully answer that there wasn't a 
trace of it. 

When she returned to Mrs. Brindley's - already she 
had ceased to think of it as home -she announced her 
new plan, Mrs. Brindley said nothing, but Mildred 
understood the quick tightening of the lines round her 
mouth and the shifting of the eyes. She hastened to 
explam that Mrs. Belloc was no longer the sort of 
woman or the sort of landlady she had been a few 
months before. Mrs. Brindley of the older New York, 
could neither understand nor believe in the people of 
the new and real New York whom it molds for better 
or for worse so rapidly -and even remolds again and 
agam. But Mildred was able to satisfy her that the 
house was at least not suspicious. 

"It doesn't matter where you're going," said Mrs. 
Bnndley. It's that you ar^ going. I can't bear giv- 
■r.g you up. I had hoped that our Hvos would flow on 
and on together." She was with difficulty controlling 
her emofons Mfs these separations that age one 
that ake one's life. I almost wish I hadn't met you." 
Mildred was moved, herself. Not so much as Mrs. 
Bnndley because she had the necessities of her career 
gripping her and claiming the strongest feelings there 
we« >n her. Also, she was much the younger, not 
merely in years but in experience. And separations 
nave no real poignancy in them for youth. 
" Yes, I know you love me," said Cyrilla, « but love 


do«n't mean to you what it n,.«n. to me. r-n m ^^J 
middle period of life where "-"J**^* ^ 'J .'^ 
m aning In youth we're ea.ily con«,led '"d «''^"«J? 
:Z.e*iiie ^ «. fuU of PO"*"'"-' !°i;*^ :* 
believe friendship and love - -;-^,;^ ^J ^d 
worth while. In old age, when the artene. ™ 
the blood flow, .low and cold, we »'f««™; '"^f"*"*; 
But between thirty-five and fifty-five how the heart «ij 
ache!" She .miled, with trembling lips. "An^J";*; 

- '"-°'-i:rAtty"d:;^yo"nr e:::trs^ 

to mention that. Ah, my dear, you m ^^ 

old woman. And I never think of you a. older than 

""'«? i an old woman." said Cyrilla. And with a 

I'^dr ltVl1:"lt"-ol love-and tl.t 

S^'JtTeLrifled mo'rrof a broken hearty But 
ttrrier remained; it would have been .mpo».ble for 
rvrilla Brindley to talk frankly about her.elf . 

When Sdred came out of her room the next mom- 
ing, Cyrilla had gone, leaving a note: 

J I. n..;^Mi we'll see each other very 
Jr?oSe'^for;hr.Sr^t really I can't. 



Before night Mildred wa> settled in the new place and 
the new room, with no sense of strangeness. She was 
reproaching herself for hardness, for not caring about 
Cyrilla, the best and truest friend she had ever had. 
But the truth lay in quite a different direction. The 
house, the surroundings, where she had lived luxuri- 
ously, dreaming her foolish and fatuous dreams, was 
not the place for such a struggle as was now upon her. 
And for that struggle she preferred, to sensitive, sober, 
refined, impractical Cyrilla Brindley, the companionship 
and the sympathy, the practical sympathy, of Agnes 
Belloc. No one need be ashamed or nervous before 
Agnes Belloc about being poor or unsuccessful or hav- 
ing to resort to riiabby makeshifts or having to endure 
coarse contacts. Cyrilla represented refinement, appre- 
ciation of the finished work — luxurious and sterile 
appreciation and enjoyment. Agnes represented the 
workshop — where all the doers of aU that is done live 
and work. Mildred was descending from the heights 
where live those who have graduated from the lot of the 
human race and have lost all that superficial or casual 
resemblance to that race. She was going down to live 
with the race, to share in' its lot. She was glad Agnes 
Belloc Was to be there. 

Generalizing about such a haphazard conglomerate 
as human nature is highly unsatisfactory, but it may 
be cautiously ventured that in New England, as in old 
England, there is a curiously contradictory way of deal- 
ing with conventionality. Nowhere is conventionality 
more in reverence; yet when a New-Englander, man or 
woman, happens to elect to break with it, nowhere is 


the break ao utter ima so defiant. If Agnes Bellor, 
cut looie from the conventions that hf d oound her from 
childhood to well into middle life, had remained at home, 
no doubt she would have spent a large part of her nights 
in thinking out ways of employing her days in out- 
raging the conventionalities before her horrified and in- 
furiated neighbors. But of what use in New York to 
cuff and spit upon deities revered by only an insignifi- 
cant class — and only officially revered by that class? 
Agnes had soon seen that there was no amusement or 
interest whatever in an enterprise which in her New 
England home wpuld have filled her life to the brim witli 
excitement. Also, she saw that she was well into that 
time of life where the absence of reputation in a woman 
endangers her comfort, makes her liable to be left alone 
— not despised and dencunced, but simply avoided and 
ignored. So she was telling Mildred the exact fr^ t 
She had l^id down the arms she had taken up against 
the social system, and had come in — and was fighting 
it from the safer and wiser inside. She still insisted 
that a woman had the same rights as a man ; but she took 
care to make it clear that she claimed those rights only 
for others, that she neither exercised tnem nor cared for 
them for herself. And to make her propaganda the 
more effective, she was not only circumspect herself, 
but was exceedingly careful to be surrounded by cir- 
cumspect people. No one could cite her case as proof 
that woman would expand liberty into license. In 
theory there was nothing lively that she did not look 
upon at least with tolerance ; in practice, more and more 
she disliked seeing one of her sex do anything that miglit 


'k-^ !!'•.?'''' ^ "^ " ""'"•'' """W "busTlibcrty if 
.h. Ju^ .t" .. 8.„.ible people." .he now "do „ 

Agne. Belloc wa, typical _ certainly of « large and 
pie. and the decline of the old-fashioned idealism that 

In^'r^" u^-. «'"''>"»■«' ethical standard.. She 
s^ply met each .ituation ar it arose and dealt with il 

wS. tL h """'' ^''" «^"''" '""' »'<=''" "riving 

adaptable, .o tolerant, .o conducive to long and hea thy 
«nd happy life. materialistic, but allurTngly 
comfortable. Whether for good or for'evil or Z S 
good and ev.], the geniuses .ee,„ i„ « f^;, .j , ^ 

ITZ bT ^J*''".*'' '•^"«'°-"' -'■ H-''^'^ 

a l.f "■ « : ''•*''°"' '" '^' ^"^'^ '»'''«'■''« it. wa. 
a most .ignificant .ign of the time.. 

ILHred at breakfast. « Tho.e simple house-remedie. 

Nothing hke heat-hot water-and no eating. The 
mam thing wa. doing without dinner last night " 

My nerve, are quieter," advanced Mildred a. the 

Its seat. "And my mind's at re.t." 

gettmg the rtomach straight and keeping it straight'. 


the main thing. My old g-andmother couU eat any- 
thing and do anything. I've seen her put in a glais of 
milk or a saucer of ice-cream on top of a tomato-saUd. 
The way she kept well was, whenever she began to feel 
the least bit off, she stopped eating. Not a bite would 
she touch till she felt well again." 

Mildred, moved by an impulse stronger than her in- 
clination, produced the Keith paper. « I wish you'd 
read this, and tell me what you think of it. You've 
got so much common sense." 

Agnes read it through to the end, began at the be- 
ginning and read it through again. "That sounds 
good to me," said she. " I want to think it over. If 
you don't mind I'd like to show it to Miss Blond. She 
knows a lot about those things. I suppose you're go- 
ing to see Mr. Crossley to-day ? — that's the musical 
manager's name, isn't it? " 

« I'm going at eleven. That isn't too early, is it? " 
" If I were you, I'd go as soon as I was dressed for 
the street. And if you don't get to see him, wait till 
you do. Don't talk to under-sUffers. Always go 
straight for the head man. You've got something that's 
worth his while. How did he get to be head man? Be 
cause he knows a good thing the minute he sees it. Tlie 
under fellows are usually under because they are so 
taken up with themselves and with impressing people 
how grand they are that they don't see anything else. 
So, when you talk to them, you wear yourself out and 
waste your time." 

"There's only one thing that makes me nervous," 

said Mildred. " Everyone I've ever telked with about 



- everyone who has talked candidly 

going on the stage - 
— has said — " 

"Yes, I know," said Mrs. Piloc, ar, M:!-ired paused 
to search for smooth-sounding ivords in whi.n to dress, 
without disguising, a distinctly u-ly idea. ' I've heard 
that, too, I don't know whether there's anything in it 
or not." She looked admiringly at Mildred, who that 
morning was certainly lovely enough to tempt any man. 
If there is anything in it, why, I reckon gou'd be up 
against it. That's the worst of having men at the top 
in any trade and profession. A woman's got to get 
her chance through some man, and if he don't choose 
to let her have it, she's likely to fail." 
Mildred showed how this depressed her. 
"But don't you fret about that till you have to" 
advised Mrs. Belloc. "I've a notion that, even if it's 
true, ,t may not apply to you. Where a woman offers 
for a place that she can fill about as well as a hundred 
other women, she's at the man's mercy; but if she knows 
that she's far and away the best for the place, I don't 
thmk a man's, going to stand i, his own light. Let Um 
see that he can make money through you, money he 
wont make if he don't get you. Then, I don't think 
you'll have any trouble."^ 

But MUdred's depression did not decrease. « If my 
voice could only be relied on! " she exclaimed. « Isn't 
It exasperating that I've got a delicate throat!" 

"It's always something," said Mrs. BeDoc. "One 
thing's about as bad as another, and anything can be 

" No, not in my case," said Mildxwl « The peculiar 



quality of my voice — what makes it unusual — is due 
to the delicateness of my throat." 

" Maybe so," said Mrs. Belloc. 

" Of course, I can always sing — after a fashion," 
continued Mildred. " But to be really valuable on the 
stage you've got to be able always to sing at your best. 
So I'm afraid I'm in the class of those who'll suit, one 
about as well as another." 

"You've got to get out of that class," said Mrs. 
Belloc. " The men in that class, and the women, have 
to do any dirty work the boss sees fit to give 'em — and 
not mudi pay, cither. Let me tell you one thing. Miss 
Stevens. If youi can't get among the few at the top 
in the singing game, you must look round for some game 
where you can hope to be among the few. No matter 
ithat it is. By using your brains and working hai^, 
there's something you can do better than pretty nearly 
anybody else can or will do it. You find that." 

The words sank in, sank deep. Mildred, sense of her 
surroundings lost, was gazing straight ahead with an 
expression that gave Mrs. Belloc hope and even a cer- 
tain amount of confidence. There was a distinct ad- 
vance ; for, after she reflected upon all that Mildred had 
told her, _little of her former opinion of Mildred's 
chances for success had remained but a hope detained 
not without difficulty. Mrs. Belloc knew the human 
race unusually well for a woman — unusually well for 
a human being of whatever sex or experience. She had 
discovered how rare is the temperament, the 9ombination 
of intelligence and tenacity, that makes for success. 
She had learned that most people, judged by any atand- 


ard, were almost total failures, that most of the more 
or lus successful were so merely because the world had 
an enormous amount of important work to be done, 
even thou^ half-way, and had no one but those half- 
competents to do it. As incompetence in a man would 
be tolerated where it would not be in a woman, ob- 
viously a woman, to get on, must have the real tempera- 
ment of success. 

She now knew enou^ about Mildred to be able to 
"place" her in the "lady" class — those brought up 
not only knowing how to do nothing with a money 
value (except lawful or unlawful man-trapping), but 
also trained to a sensitiveness and refinement and false 
shame about work that made it exceedingly difficult if 
not impossible for them to learn usefulness. She knew 
all Mildred's handicaps, both those the girl was con- 
scious of and those far heavier ones which she fatu- 
ously regarded as advantages. How was Mildred eyer 
to learn to dismiss and disregard herself, as the pretty 
foman of good social position, an object of admiration 
and consideration .' Mildred, in the bottom of her heart, 
was regarding herself as already successful — success- 
ful at the highest a woman can achieve or ought to 
upire to achieve — was regarding her career, however 
'he might talk or mij^t fancy she believed, as a mere 
bvelihood, a side issue. She would be perhaps more 
^n a little ashamed of her stage connections, should 
ihe make any, until she should be at the very top — 
ind how get to the top when one is working under the 
landicap of shame? Above all, how was this in- 
digently and_sheltere<}ly reared lady to become a work- 
" 313 


ing woman, living a routine life, toiling away day in 
and day out, with no let up, permitting no one and 
nothing to break her routine? "ReaUy," thought 
Agnes Belloc, « »he ou^t to have married that Baird 
man — iff stayed on with the nasty general. I wonder 
why she didn't! That's the only thing that gives me 
hope. There must be something in her — something 
that don't appear — something she doesn't know about, 
herself. What is it? Maybe it was only vanity and 
viu-illation. Again, I don't know." 

The difficulty Mrs. Belloc labored under in her at- 
tempt to explore and map Mildred Gower was a diffi- 
culty we all kbof under in those same enterprises. We 
cannot convince ourselves — in spite of experience 
after experience — that a human character is never 
consistent and homogeneous, is always conglomerate, 
that there are no two traits, however naturally exclusive, 
which cannot coexist in the same personality, that cir- 
cumstance is the dominating factor in human action 
and brings forward as dominant characteristics now 
one trait or set of traits, consistent or inconsistent, and 
now anothpr^ Tlie Alexander who was Aristotle's model 
pupil was the same Alexander as the drunken debaucher. 
Indeed, may it not be that the characters which pUiy 
the large parts in the comedy of life are naturally those 
that offer to the shifting winds of circumstances the 
greatest variety of strongly developed and contradictory 
qualities? For example, if it was Mudred's latent 
courage rescued her from Siddall, was it not her strong 
tendency to vaciUation that saved her from a loveless 
and mercenary marriage to Stanley B«rd? Perhaps 


the deep underlying truth is that all unmual people 
have m common the character that centers a powerful 
aversion to stagnation; thus, now by their strong quali- 
ties, now by their weahnesses, they are swept ineviUbly 
on and on and ever on. Good to-day, bad to-morrow, 
good again the day after, weak in this instance, strong 
in that, now brave and now cowardly, soft at one time, 
hard at another, generous and the reverse by turns, they 
are consistent only in that they are never at rest, but 
incessantly and inevitably go. 

Mildred reluctantly rose, moved toward the door with 
hngermg step. "I guess I'd better make a start," 
said she. ^ 

"That's the talk," said Mrs. Belloc heartily. But 
the affectionate glance she sent after the girl was dubi- 
ous — even pitying. 




Two minutes' walk through to Broadway, and she 
was at her destination. There, on the other side of the 
way, stood the Gayety Theater, with the offices of Mr. 
Clarence Crosslcy overlooking the intersection of the 
two streets. Crossley was intrenched in the remot- 
est of a series of rooms, each tenanted by under-staffers 
of diminishing irapftrtance as you drew way from the 
great man. It was next to impossible to get at him — 
a cause of much sneering and dissatisfaction in theat- 
rical circles. Crossley, they said, was exclusive, had 
the swollen head, had forgotten that only a few years 
before he had been a cheap little ticket-seller grateful 
for a bow from any actor who had ever had his name 
up. Crossley insisted that he was not a victim of folxe 
du, grandeur, that, on the contrary, he had become ^ess 
vain as he had risen, where he could see how trivial a 
thing rising was and how accidental. Said he: 

« VSTiy do I shut myself in? Because I'm what I am 
_ a good thing, «sy fruit. You say that men a hun- 
dred times bigger than I'll ever be don't shut themselves 
up. You say that Mountain, the biggest financier in 
the country, sits right out where anybody can go up to 
him. Yes, but who'd dare go up to him? It's gen- 
erally known that he's a cannibal, that he kills his own 
food and eats it warm and raw. So he can a«ford to sit 


in the open. If I did that, all my time and all my 
money would go to the cheap-skates with hard-luck 
tales. I don't hide because I'm haughty, but because 
I m weak and soft." 

In appearance Mr. Crossley did not suggest his name. 
He was a tallish, powerful-looking person with a 
smooth, handsome, audacious face, with fine, laughing 
but somehow untrustworthy eyes — at least untrust- 
worthy for women, though women had never profited by 
the wammg. He dressed in excellent taste, almost con- 
spicuously, and the gay and expensive details of his 
toilet suggested a man given over to liveliness. As a 
matter of fact, this liveliness was potential rather than 
actual. Mr. Crossley was always intending to resume 
the giddy ways of the years before he became a great 
man, but was always so far behind in the important 
things to be done and done at once that he was forced 
to put off. However his neckties and his shirts and his 
flirtatious, untrustworthy eyes kept him a reputation for 
being one of the worst cases in Broadway. In vain did 
his achievements show that he could not possibly have 
time or strength for anything but work. He looked 
like a rounder ; he was in a business that gave endless 
dazzling opportunity for the lively life ; a rounder he 
was, therefore. 

He was about forty. At first glance, so vivid and 
energetic was he, he looked like thirty-five, but at second 
glance one saw the lines, the underlying melancholy signs 
of strain, the heavy price he had paid for phenomenal 
success won by a series of the sort of risks that the 
hair fall as autumn leaves on a windy day and make 


such hair, as stick turn rapidly gray. '^^' '^T^ 
were many who thought Crossley was th-'^K^' 7"'*^ 
,hy of the truth by five or six years when he said forty. 
I„ ordinary circumstances Mildred would never hav 
got at Crossley. This was the first busmess call of her 
We where.she had come a. an unknown and WP"'*?^ 
suitor. Her reception would have been such at the 
hands of Crossley's insolent and iH-mannered under- 
lings that she would have fled in shame and confus.on^ 
tl even well within the possibilities that she wou d 
have given up all idea of a career, would have sent for 
Bai d! and so on. And not one of those who, t.m^ 
and inexperienced, have suffered rude rebuff at the.r first 
Advance, would have condemned her. But U so chanced 
-whether by good fortune or by ill the event was to 
tell -that she did not have to face a -«1« -d" 
ling. The hall door was open. She entered. It hap 
pe!ed that while she was coming up in *'=;^-»*°;; 
Juarrel between a motorman and a driver had heated 
?ra fight, into a small riot. All *e -de^^^^^ ^^^^ 
rushed out on a balcony that commanded a superb v>ew 
of the battle. The connecting doors were open. U^ 
dred advanced from room to room, «f l""g J-'^""! ^^ 
would take her card to Mr. Crossley. When she at 
last faced a closed door she knocked. 
"Come!" cried a pleasant voice. _ 
And in she went, to face Crossley himself - Crossley, 
the "weak and soft," caught behind his last entrench 
ment with no chance to escape. Had Mildred looked 
Tull sort who come looking for jobs m musical 
comedj^ Mr. Crossley would not have risen -not be- 


came I e wm snobbuh, but because, being a sensitive, 
high-»trung person, he ii-stinctively adopted the manner 
that would put the person before Jim at ease. He 
glanced at Mildred, rose, and back forthwith the 
slangy, offhand personality that was perhups the most 
natural — or was it merely tne most used? — of his 
many personaUties. It was Crossley the man of the 
world, the man of the artisUc world, who delighted Mil- 
dred with a courteous bow and offer of a chair, as he 

" You wished to see me? " 

" If you are Mr. Crossley," said Mildred. 

"I should be tempted to say I was, if I wasn't," 
said he, and his manner made it a mere pleasantry to 
put her at ease. 

" There was no one in the ouUide room, so I walked 
on and on until your door stopped me." 

" You'll never know how lucky you. were," said he. 
" They tell me those feUows out there have shocking 

" Have you time to see me now? I've come to apply 

for a position in musical comedy." 
"You have not been on the sUge, Miss—" 
" Gower. Mildred Gower. I've decided to use my 

own name." 

" I know you have not been on the stage." 
"Except as an amateur — and not even that for 
several years. But I've been working at my voice." 

Crossley was studying her, as she stood talking — 
she had refused the chair. He was more than favor- 
ably impressed. But the deciding element was not 

ft ( 

i \\ 


Mildred's excellent ligure or her charm of manner or 
her »weet and lovely face. It wa» iuperstiUon. Just 
•t that time Crosslcy had been abruptly deserted by 
EsteUe Howard; instead of going on with the rehearsals 
of " The Full Moon," in which she was to be starred, 
she had rushed aw»y to Europe with a violmist witli 
whom she had faUen in love at the first rehearsal. 
Crossley was looking about for someone to take her 
place. He had been entrenched in those offices for 
nearly five years ; in all that time not a single soul of the 
desperate crowds that dogged him had broken through 
his guard. Crossley was as superstitious as was every- 
one else who has to J a with the stage. 
" What kind of a voice? " asked he. 
"Lyric soprano." 
" You have music there. What? " 
" ' Batti Batti ' and a little song in English — ' The 
Rose and the Bee.' " 

Crossley forgot his manners, turned his back squarely 
upon her, thrust his hands deep into his trousers 
pockets', and stared out through the window. He pres- 
ently wheeled round. She would not have thought his 
eyes could be so keen. Said he: " You were studying 
for grand opera?" 
" Yes." 

"Why do you drop it and take up this?" 
" No money," replied she. " I've got to make ray 
living- at once." 

" Well, let's see. Come with me, please." 

They went out by a door into the hall, went back to 

the rear of the building, in at an iron door, down « 

820 > 


flight of iteep iron skeleton steps dimlj lighted. Mil- 
dred had often been behind the scenes in her amateur 
theatrical days; but even if she had not, she would hav« 
known where she was. Crossley called, "Moldini! 

The name was caught up by other voices and re- 
peated again and again, more and more remotely. A 
moment, and a small dark man with a superabundance 
of greasy dark hair appeared. « Miss Gower," said 
Crossley, « this is Signor Moldini. He will play your 
accompaniments." Then to the little Italian, « Piano 
on the stage? " 
« Yes, sir." 

To Mildred with a smile, " Will you try?" 
She bent her head. She had no voice — not for song, 
not for speech, not even for a monosyllable. 

Crossley took Moldini aside where Mildred could not 
hear. « MoUie," said he, "this girl crept up on me, 
and I've got to give her a trial. As you see, she's a 
lady, and you know what they are." 
" Punk," said Moldini. 

Crossley nodded. « She seems a nice sort, so I want 
to let her down easy. I'll sit back in the house, in the 
dark. Run her through that ' Batti Batti ' thing she's 
got with her. If she's plainly on the fritz, I'll light a 
cigarette. If I don't light up, try the other song she 
has. If I still don't light up make her go through that 
' Ah, were you here, love,' from the piece. But if 
I light up, it means that I'm going to light out, and 
that you're to get rid of her — tell her we'll let her 
bow if she'll leave her address. You understand? " 

' ( 


" Perfectly." 

F«r from being thrilled «nd jnipired, her lurround- 
ings iMde her lick at heart — the chill, the dampneM, 
the bare walU, the dim, dreary UghU, the coarwsly- 
painted flats — At la»t »he wai on the threshold of her 
chosen profession. What a profession for such a per- 
son as she had always been! She stood beside Moldini, 
seated at the piano. She gaxcd at the darkness, some- 
where in whose depths Crossley was hidden. After 
several false starts she sang the " Batti Batti " through, 
sang it atrociously — not like a poor professional, but 
like a pretentious amateur, a reversion to a manner of 
singing she had once had, but had long since got rid of. 
She paused at the end, appalled by the silence, by the 
awfulness of her own performance. 

From the darkness a slight click. If she had known ! 
— for, it was Crossley's match-safe. 

The sound, slight yet so clear, startled her, roused 
her. She called out : " Mr. Crossley, won't you please 
be patient enough to let me try that again? " 
A brief hesitation, then: "Certainly." 
Once more she began. But this time there was no 
hesitation. From first to last she did it as Jennings 
had coached her, did it with all the beauty and energy 
of her really lovely voice. As she ended, Moldim said 
in a quiet but intense undertone: "Bravo! Bravo! 
Fresh as a bird on a bright spring morning." And 
from the darkness came: " Ah — that's better. Miss 
Gower. That was professional work. Now for the 


Thus encouraged and with her Toice well wanned, she 


could not but make « ,ucce.. of the .ong that wa. nearer 
to what would be expected of her in mu.ical comedy. 
Cro.. ey called out : " Now, the .ight ringing, Moldini. 
I don t expect you to do thi. well, Mi.. Gowcr. I .im- 
ply wi.h to get an idea of how you'd do a piece we 
nave m rehearsal." 

" You'll have no trouble with thi.,» .aid Moldini, a« 

ic opened the con.edy ,ong upon the rack with a con- 

emptuou. whirl. " It's the easy showy stuff that .uit. 

the tired business man and his laccd-in wife. Go at it 

and yell." 

Mildred glanced through it. There was a subtle 
somethmg ,n the atmosphere now that put her at her 
ease. She read the words aloud, laughing at their silly 
senfmentahty, she and Moldini and Crossley making 
jokes about it. Soon she said: « I'm ready " 

She sang it well. She asked them to let her try it 
agam. And the second time, with the words in her 
mmd and the simple melody, she was able to put ex- 
pression into it and to indicate, with restraint, the ac- 
tion. Crossley came down the aisle. 

'' What do you think, Mollie? " he said to Moldini. 
' We might test her at a few rehearsals." 
Crossley meekly accepted the salutary check on his 
enthusiasm. "Do you wish to try, Miss Gower? " 

Mildred was silent. She knew now the sort of piece 
m which she was to appear. She had seen a few of 
them, those cheap and vulgar farces with their thin 
music, their more than dubious-looking people. What 
« come-down t What a degradation! It was as bad 
in Its way as being the wife of General Siddall. And 




she was to do this, in preference to marrying Stanley 


" You will be paid, of course, during rehearsal; that 
is, as long as we are taking your time. Fifty dollars 
a week is about as much as we can afford." Crossley 
was watching her shrewdly, was advancing these re- 
marks in response to the hesitation he saw so plainly. 
" Of course it isn't grand opera," he went on. " In 
fact, it's pretty low — ahnost as low as the public taste. 
You see, we aren't subsidized by millionaires who want 
people to think they're artistic, so we have to hustle to 
separate the public from its money. But if you make 
a hit, you can earn enough to put you into grand opera 
in fine style." 

"I never heard of anyone's graduating from here 
into grand opera," said Mildred. 

" Because our stars make so much money and make 
it so easily. It'll be your own fault if you don't." 

" Can't I come to just one rehearsal — to see whether 
I can — can do it?" pleaded Mildred. 

Crossley, made the more eager and the more supersti- 
tious by this unprecedented reluctance, shook his head. 
"No. You must agree to stay as long as we want 
you," said he. " We can't allow ourselves to be trifled 

"Very well," said Mildred resignedly. "I will re- 
hearse as long as you want me. 

" And will stay for the run of the piecie, if we want 
that? " said Crossley. " You to get a hundred a week 
if you are put in the cast, More, of course, if you 

make a hit." 



in 2Zj"""" ^'" *" "^ " '='""""=" " "-<! Mildred 

CT\ ,.''°""' '""' "°* ''^*°»"'"'d. however *f„f he 

r- neve! .. r''. ''«'•*• ^'-> he knew Cross- 
Si. T '° ""^^ ""•' '"^^ " t'-'t he trifled with un- 
hkely candidates for his productions. Crossley had It 
up because he knew what to do and when to do it. ^ 
Mildred acquiesced. Before she was free to go into 

he street aga:„ she had signed a paper that boulxd h 
to rehearse for three weeks at fifty dollars a week and 
to stay on at a hundred dollars a week for fortyweeks 

J heX; h'''^ ^f ''°°" '" '-' ^^-^'^^ - ^' -^ 

A sWd. ' -7? ^"^ "* ^''^ ^""^ °f the rehearsals. 
A shrewdly one-s,ded contract. But Crossley told him- 
self he would correct it. if she should by some remoTe 

a h,t in It Th,s was no mere salve to conscience, by 
the waj. Crossley would not be foolish enough to Live 

hm and at the earhest opportunity leaving him to make 

money for some rival manager K "'"> .o make 

Mrs. Belloc had not gone out, had been waiting in . 

~ m Ir^T "^^^ ''''^'' -- -*° her Xing! 
h^rTasTh ' ITl ^""^ """^ ^"^^^^ *" « ehair as ff 
could do to restram her tears. Said she ■ 

Don't be foolish, my dear. You couldn't expect 
-nythmg to come of your first attempt." "^ 

That isn't it,» said Mildred. « I think I'll give it 


up — do something else. Grand opera's bad enough. 
There were a lot of things about it that I was fighting 
my distaste for." 

"I_know," said Agnes. "And you'd better fight 
them hard. They're unworthy of you." 

" But — musical comedy ! It's — frightful t " 
•" It's an honest way of making a living, and that's 
more than can be said of — of some things. I suppose 
you're afraid you'll have to wear tights — or some non- 
sense like that." 

" No, no. It's doing it at all. Such rotten music 
— and what a loathsome mess ! " 

Mrs. Belloc's eyes flashed. "I'm losing all pa- 
tience!" she cried. " I know you've been brought up 
like a fool and always surrounded by fools. ' I suppose 
you'd rather sell yourself to some man. Do you know 
what's the matter with you, at bottom? Why, you're 
lazy and you're a coward. Too lazy to work. And 
afraid of what a lot of cheap women'U say — women 
earning their board and clothes in about the lowest way 
such a thing can be done. Haven't you got any self- 
respect? " ^ 

Mildred rose. " Mrs. Belloc," she said angrily, 1 
can't permit even you to say such things to me." 

« The shoe seems to fit," retorted Mrs. Belloc. " I 
never yet saw a lady, a real, silk-and-diamonds, sit-in- 
the-parlor lady, who had any self-respect. If I had 
my way they wouldn't get a mouthful to eat till they 
had earned it. That'd be a sure cure for the lady dis- 
ease. I'm ashamed of you. Miss Stevens ! And you're 
ashamed of yourself." 




" Ym, I am," Mid MUdred, with a sudden change of 
mood. ■ 

« The best thing you can do is to rest till lunch-time. 
Then start out after lunch and hunt a job. I'll ao 
with you." * 

« But I've got a job," said Mildred. « That's what's 
the matter." 

Agnes Belloc's jaw dropped and her rather heavy 
eyebrows shot u^ toward the low sweeping Une of her 
auburn hair. ■ She made such a ludicrous face that Mil- 
dred laughed outright. Said she: 

"It's quite time. Fifty a week, for three weeks of 
rehearsal. No doubt / can go on if I like. Nothing 
could be easier." 

" Crossley? " 

"Yes. He was very nice — heard me sing three 
pieces — and it was all settled. I'm to begin to-mor- 

The color rose in Agnes Belloc's face until she looked 
apoplectic She abruptly retreated to her bedroom. 
After a few minutes she came back, her uprmal com- 
plexion restored. "I couldn't trust myself to speak," 
said she. "That was the worst case of ingratitude 
I ever met up with. You, getting a place at fifty 
dollars a week — and on your first trial — and 
you come in looking as if you'd lost your money and 
your repuUtion. What kind of a girl are you, any-' 
way?" ' 

II I don't know," said Mildred. « I wish I did." 
Well, I'm sorry you got it so easy. Now you'll 
have a false notion from the start It's always better 



to have a hard time getting things. Then you appre- 
ciate them, and have learned how to hold on." 

« No troubk about holding on to this," said Mildred 

carelessly. , , , » 

« Please don't talk that way, child," pleaded Agnes, 
almost tearful. " It's frightful to me, who've had ex- 
perience, to hear you invite a fall-down." 

Mildred disdainfully fluttered the typewritten -opy of 
the musical comedy. "This is child's play," said she. 
",The lines are beneath contempt. As for the songs, 
you never heard such slop." 

" The stars in those pieces get four and five hundred, 
and more, a week," said Mrs. Belloc. « Believe me, 
those managers don't pay.out any such sums for child s 
play. You look out. You're going at this wrong.' 
" I shan't care if I do fail," said Mildred. 
« Do you mean that? " demanded Mrs. Belloc 
"No, I don't," said Mildred. "Oh, I don't know 
what I mean." 

« I guess you're just talking," said Mrs. Belloc after 
a rcflecjfcre sUence. « I guess a girl who goes and gets 
a good job, first crack out of the box, must have a 
streak of shrewdness." 

« I hope so," said Mildred doubtfully. 
"I guess you'll work hard, aU right. After you 
went out this mowing, I took that paper down to Miss 
Blond. She's crazy about it. She want, to make a 
copy of it. I told her I'd ask you." 
« Certainly," said Mildred. 
" She says she'll return it the same day." 
"Tell her she can keep it as long as she likes." 


Mr.. Belloc eyed her gravely, started to speak, 
<*ecked herself. Instead, she said. "No, I shan't do 
that. I'll have it back in your room by this evening. 
You might change your mind, and want to use it." 

" Very well," said Mildred, pointedly uninterested and 
ignonng Mrs. Belloc's delicate but distinct emphasis 
upon " might." 

Mrs. Belloc kept a suspicious eye upon her — an eye 
that was not easily deceived. The more she thought 
about Mildred's state of depression and disdain the more 
tolerant she became. That mood was the natural and 
necessary result of the girl's bringing up and mode of 
life. The important thing — and the wonderful thing 
— was her being able to overcome it. After a week of 
rehearsal she said: « I'm making the best of it. But 
I don't like it, and never shall." 

" I should hope not," replied Mrs. Belloc. « You're 
going to the top. I'd hate to see you contented ai the 
bottom. Aren't you learning a good deal that'll be 
useful later on? " 

" Thaf s why I'm reconciled to it," said she. « The 
stage director, Mr. Ransdell, is teaching me everything 
— even how to sing. He knows his business." 

Ransdell not only knew, but also took endless pains 
with her. He was a taU. thin, dark man, strikingly 
handsome in the distinguished way. So distinguished 
looking was he that to meet him was to wonder why he 
had not made a great name for himself. An extraordi- 
nary mind he certainly had, and an insight into the 
reasons for things that is given only to genius. He 
had failed as a composer, failed as a playwright, fafled 


M A finger, faUed a* «n actor. He had been forced 
to take up the profession of putting on dramatic and 
musical plays, a profession that required vast knowl- 
edge and high talents and paid for them in niggardly 
fashion both in money and in fame. Crossley owed to 
him more than to any other single element the series 
of successes that had made him rich; yet the ten thou- 
sand a year Crossley paid him was regarded as evi- 
dence of Crossley's lavish generosity and was so. It 
would have been difficult tosay why a man so splendidly 
endowed by nature and so tireless in improving himself 
was thus unsuccessful. Probably he lacked judgment; 
indeed, that lack must have been the cause. He could 
judge for Crossley; but not for himself, not when he 
had the feeling of ultimate responsibility. 

Mildred had anticipated the most repulsive associa- 
tions — men and women of low oripn and of vulgar 
tastes and of vulgarly loose lives. She found herself 
surrounded by simple, pleasant people, undoubtedly er- 
ratic for the most part in all their habits, but without vi- 
ciousness. And Ihey were hard workers, all. Ransdell 
— for Crossley— : tolerated no nonsense. His people 
could live as they pleased, away from the theater, but 
there they must be prompt and fit. The discipline was 
as severe as tiiat of a monastery. She saw many signs 
that all sorts of things of the sort with which she wished 
to have no contact were going on about her; but as she 
held slightly — but not at aU haughtily — aloof , she 
would have had to go out of her way to see enough to 
scandalize her. She soon suspected that she was bemg 
treated with extraordinary consideration. This was by 


CroMley'. order.. But the carrying out of their .pint 
•« weU a. their letter wa> due to RanwleU. Before the 
end of that fir.t week ,he knew that there wa. the per- 
»on«l element behind hi. admiration for her voice Vnd 
her talent for acting, behind his concentrating mo.t of 
hi. attention upon her part. He looked hi. love boldly 
whenever they were alone; he w«. alway. trying to 

r u f. ~" "''" '° " '"y *^''* "''« "^ouW have resented, 
or felt Lke resenting. He wa. not unattractive to her, 
and .he wa. eager to learn all he had to teach, and .aw 
no barm m helping herself by letting him love. 

Toward the middle of the second week, when they were 
alone m her dressing-room, he -with the ingenious 
lack of abruplnes. of the experienced man at the game 
— took her hand, and before .he was ready, ki.sed her 
He did not accompany these advances with an outburst 
Of passionate words or with any fiery lighting up of the 
eye., but calmly, smilingly, as if it were what she was 
expecting him to do, what he had a right to do. 

She did not know quite how to meet this novel atUck. 
She drew her hand away, went on talking about the 
part — the changes he had suggested in her entrance, 
a. she sang her best solo. He discussed this with her 
until they rose to leave the theater. He looked smil- 
ingly down on her, and said with the flattering air of 
the satuned connoisseur: 

"Ye., you are charming, Mildred. I can make a 
great artist and a great success out of you. We need 
each other." f 

"I certainly need you," .aid she gratefully. « How 
much you've done for me." 



"Only the beginning," replied he. "Ah, I have 
such plan* for you — such phni. Crouley doesn't 
realize how far you can be made to go — with the right 
training. Without it — " He shook his head lauj^- 
ingly. " But you shnll have it, my dear." And he 
laid his hands lightly and caressingly upon her shoul- 

The gesture was apparently a friendly familiarity. 
To resent it, even to draw away, would put her in the 
attitude of the woman absurdly exercised about the 
desirability and sacredness of her own charms. 

Still smiling, in that friendly, assiured way, he went 
on : " You've beea very cold and reserved with me, my 
dear. Very unappreciative." 

Mildred, red and trembling, hung her head in con- 

" I've been at the business ten years," he went on, 
" and you're the first woman I've been more than casu- 
ally interested in. The pretty ones were bores. The 
homely ones — I can't interest myself in a homely 
woman, no matter how much talent she has. A woman 
must first of all satisfy the eye. And you — " He 
seated himself and drew her toward him. She, cold all 
over and confused in mind and almost stupefied, resisted 
with all her strength; but her strength seemed to be 
oozing away. She said: 

" You must not do this. You must not do this. I'm 
horribly disappointed in you." 

He drewlier to his lap and helB her there without 
any apparent tax upon his strength. He kissed her, 
laughingly pushing away the arms with which she tried 


wrench herself free and ,tood .t » di.t.„ce from him. 

X:zT;:r' " ""'" '- ^'' '"' '-"^"^ - •'^ 

"You will ple.«, leave this room," said .he. 

He ht a cigarette, crossed his legs comfortably, and 
ooked at her with laughing eye,. "Don't do that." he 
~id gemally. «Snrely my lesson, in acting haU^ 
been w Tarn. That's too obviously a pose." 

tow ,!,TV° *^' '"'"^' •"»"«''' ^» hat, and moved 
towa«l the door. He rose and barred the way. 

. AV TJ^ *'"""•* •' y°" "« •'^eet and lovely." 

Se„i:% "^^ """•'•^ ^°" ™"* - - "-« id 
mal^ you don't sUnd aside. I'll call out to the watch- 

t.7rrTj!!'"' ^'"'^^' y°" ""« "^^hon^^t- In 

Iho * \f u"' '* ^'*- ^°" •^°"'* 'ook like one of 
Ihos l^,e, who wish to take everything and give Besides, she could not forget all he had 
done for her-and aU he could dffor her S«1 

« Mr. Ransden, if IVe done anything to cause you to was unconscious. And I'm ^so!^ 

"Be honest," interrupted he. "Haven't I made it 
plam that I was fascinated by you? » 

She could not deny it. 

« Haven't I been showing you that I was willing to 
do everything I could for yon ? " ^ 



" I thought you were concerned only about the luc- 
ceit of the piece." 

" The piece be jiggered," said he. " You don't im- 
agine you are necessary to its success, do you? You, 
a raw, untrained girl. Don't your good sense tell you 
I could Ibd a dozen who would do, let us say, oIiROtt 
as well?" 

" I understand that," murmured she. 
"Perhaps you do, but I doubt it," rejoined he. 
" Vanity's a fast growing weed. However, I rather ex- 
pected that you would remain sane and reasonably 
humble until you'd had a real success But it seems 
not. Now tell me, why should I give my time and my 
Ulent to training you — to putting you in the way of 
quick and big success?" 
She was silent. 

" What did you count on giving me in return? Your 

She colored, hung her head. 

"Wasn't I doing for you something worth while? 
And what had you to give in return? " He laughed 
with gentle mockery. " Really, you should have been 
grateful that I was willing to do so much for so little, 
for what I wanted ough - if you are a sensible woman 

to seem to you a trifle in comparison with what I 

was doing for you. It was my part, not yours, to think 
the complimentary thirgs about you. How shallow and 
vain you women are ! Can't you see that the value of 
your charms is not in them, but in the imagination of 
some man? " 

" I can't answer you," said she. " You've put it all 


wrong. You oughtn't to uk payment /or • f.vor be- 
yond pnce." 

" No. I oughtn't to have to wk," corrwted he, in the 
«une Ple«.~.tly ironic way. « You ought to have been 
more than glad to give freely. But. while 
weve been talkmg, I've changed my mind about those 
precou. jewel, of yours. We'll say they're pearls, and 
that my taste has suddenly changed to diamonds." He 
bowed mockingly. « So. dear lady, keep your pearls." 

And he stood aside, opening the door for her. She 
hesitated, dazed that she was leaving, with the feeling 
of the conquered, a field on which, by all the precedents. 
She ought to have been victor. She passed a troubled 

Mrs. Belloc, decided for silence, It drafted into service 
all her reserve of courage to walk into the theater the 
next day and to appear on the stage among the assem- 
bled company with her usual air. Ransdell greeted her 
with h,s customary friendly courtesy and gave her his 

t'h *2S"'r "^"T; *^ **" '™' ^^^y '""J 8°t through 
the first act, m which her part was one of four of about 

equal importance, she had recovered herself and was in 

the way to forget the strange stage director's strange 

attack and even stranger retreat. But the situation 

changed with the second act, in which she was on the 

stage all the time and had the whole burden. The act 

as originaUy written had been less generous to her, but 

Ransdell had taken one thing after another away from 

the others and had given it to her. She made her first 

entrance precisely a, he had trained her to make it and 

began. A few seconds, and he stopped her. 



Min flower," said he. "I'm 

"PlcMC try again, 
afraid that won't do." 

She tried again ; again he stopped her. She tried a 
third time. Hii manner was all courtesy and consider- 
ation, not the shade of a change. But she began to 
feel a latent hostility. Instinctively she knew that 
he would no longer help her, that he would leave 
her to her own resources, and judge her by how she 
acquitted herself. She made a blunder of her third 

"Really, Miss Gower, that will never do," said he 
mildly. " Let me show you how you did it." 

He gave an imitation of her — a slight caricature. 
A titter ran through the chorus. He sternly rebuked 
them and requested her to try again. Her fourth at- 
Uvft ''•■ h"" worst. He shook his head in gentle 
remonstrance. "Not quite right yet," said he regret- 
fully. " But we'll go on." 

Not far, however. He stopped her again. Again 
the courteous, kindly criticism. And so on, through 
the entire act. By the end of it, Mildred's nerves were 
unstrung. She saw the whole game, and realized how 
helpless she was. Before'the end of that rehearsal, Mil- 
dred had slipped back from promising professional into 
clumsy amateur, tolerable only because of the beautiful 
freshness of her voice" — and it was a question whether 
voice alone would save her. Yet no one but Mildred 
herself suspected that Ransdell had done it, had re- 
venged himself, had served notice on her that since she 
felt strong enough to stand alone she was to have every 
opportunity to do so. He had said nothing disagree- 


•ble ; on the cpntr.ry, he had b«en mo.t courteou., noit 

In th. third .ct .he w.s wowe thw in the .econd. 
At the end of the reheaml the other., theretofore flat- 
tering Md encouraging, turned away to talJc among 
then»elve. and avoided her., about to leave, 
said : 

"Don't look .o down-hearted, Mi.. Gower. You'll 
Ue ail right to-morrow. An off day', nothing" 

He Mid it loudly enough for tlie other, to hear. Mil- 
dred, face grew red with while .treak. acroM it, like 
tte pnnt. of a la.h. The .ubtle.t feature of hi. ma- 
evolence had been that, wherea. on other day. he had 
taken her a.ide to criticize her, on thi. day he had 
.poken out -gently, deprecatingly, but frankly-be- 
fore the whole company. Never had Mildred Gower 
been .o „d and «, blue a, .he wa. that day and that 
night. She came to the rehearsal the following day with 
. .ore throat. She .ang. but her voice cracked on the 
high note.. It wa. a painful exhibition. Her fellow, who had been rather glad of her ,et-back 
the day before, were fuU of pity and sympathy. They 
d>d not expre.. it; they were too kind for that. But 
the.r look, their drawing away from her -Mildred 
could have borne sneers and jeers better. And 
was 10 forbearing, so gentle. 

Her voice got better, got worse. Her acting re- 
ma.ned mediocre to bad. At the fifth rehearsal after 
the break with the stage-director, Mildred saw Crossley 
|«at«l far back in the dusk of the empty theater. It wa. 
his first appearance at rehearsals since the middle of 



the first week. As soon as he had satisfied himielf that 
all wttL going well, he had given his attention to other 
matters where things were not going well. Mildred 
knew why he was there — and she acted and sang atro- 
ciously. Ransdell aggravated her nervousness by osten- 
tatiously trying to help her, by making seemingly 
adroit attempts to cover her mistakes — attempts ap- 
parently thwarted and exposed only because she was 
hopelessly bad. 

In the pause betwein the second and third acts Rans- 
dell went down and sat with Crossley, and they engaged 
in earnest conversation. The while, the members of the 
company wandered restlessly about the stage, making 
^ble attempts to lift the gloom with affected cheerful- 
ness. Ransdell returned to the stage, went up to Mil- 
dred, who was sitting idly turning the leaves of a 

" Miss Gower," said he, and never had his voice been 
so friendly as in these regretful accents, " don't try to 
go on to-day. You're evidently not yourself. Go home 
and rest for a few days. We'll get along with your 
understudy. Miss Esmond. When Mr. Crossley wants 
to put you in again, he'll send for you. You mustn't 
be discouraged. I know how beginners take these 
things to heart. Don't fret about it. You can't fail 
to succeed." 

Mildred rose and, how she never knew, crossed the 
stage. She stumbled into the flats, fumbled her way to 
the passageway, to her dressing-room. She felt that 
she must escape from that theater quickly, or she would 
give way to some sort of wild attack of nerves. She 


fairly ran through the streets to Mrs. Belloc's, shut her- 
self in her room. But instead of the relief of a storm of 
tears there came a black, hideous depression. Hour 
. after hour she sat, almost without motion. The after- 
noon waned ; the earlj darkness came. StiU she did not 
move -could not move. At eight o'clock Mrs. Belloc 
knocked. Mildred did not answer. Her door opened 
-she had forgotten to lock it. In came Mr«. Belloc. 
Isn t that you, sitting by the window? » she said. 
Yes," replied Mildred. 
« I recognized the outlinr of your hat Besides, who 
else could it be but you? I've saved some dinner for 
you. I thought you were still out." 
Mildred did not answer. 

"What's the matter?" said Agnes? « Dl? bad 
news? " 

" I've lost my position," said Mildred. 

A pause. Then Mrs. Belloc felt her way across the 
room untfl she was touching the girl. « TeU me about 
it, dear," said she. 

In a monotonous, lifeless way MUdred told the story 
It was some time after she finished when Agnes said- 

"That's bad — bad, but it might be worse. You 
must go to see the manager, Crossley " 

"Why?" said Mildred. 

" Tell him what you told me." 

Mildred's silence was dissent. 

" It can't do any harm," urged Agnes. 

" It can't do any good," replied Mildred. 

" That isn't the way to look at it." 

A long pause. Then Mildred said: "If I got • 


I j 





place somewhere _ 

other form." 

" You've got to risk that" 

" Besides, I'd never have had a chance of succeeding 
if Mr. Ransdell hadn't taught me and stood behind 

It was many minutes before Agnes Belloc said in a 
hesitating, restrained voice : " They say that success 
— ^ any kind of success — has its price, and that one has 
to be ready to pay that price or fail." 

Again the profound silence. Into it gradually pen- 
etrated the soft, insistent sound of the distant roar of 
New York — a cruel, clamorous, devouring sound like 
a demand for that price of success. Said Agnes tim- 

" Why not go to see Mr. Ransdell." 

" He wouldn't make it up," said Mildred. " And I 
— I couldn't. I tried to marry Stanley Baird for 
money — and I couldn't. It would be the same way 
now — only more so." 

"But you've got to do something." 

" Yes, and I will." Mildred had risen abruptly, was 
standing at the window. Agnes Belloc could feel her 
soul rearing defiantly at the city into which she was 
gazing. " I will! " she replied. 

" It sounds as if you'd been pushed to where you'd 
turn and make a fight," said Agnes. 

" I hope so," said Mildred. " It's high time." 

She thought out several more or less ingenious indi- 
rect routes into Mr. Crossley's stronghold, for use in 
case frontal attack failed. But she did not need them. 



i spent in pla 

; them 

n.e«ns wasted. No time i. wLd tifa t i. Ipe t^n'de,! 
perate. Concentrated thinking about any of the praC 
.eal problems of life. And Mildred Jlwer. a much 
as any other woman of her training - or lack of traTn 

fully. Most of us let our minds act like a sheepTn^ 

whatever happens to offer. Only the superior few de- 
hberately select a pasture, select a line of procedure t 
that pasture and keep to it. concentrating upon what 
■s useful to „.. and that alone. So it was excellent « 

and with wholly absorbed mind upon the phase of her 
career most important at the moment. Xn she had 
worked out .11 the plans that had promise in them she 
went tranquJly to sleep, a stronger and a mo« deter! 

co'u^tt'T:,^' ^"-^ '-'' ^"^ "'^ -^ *•>'* 
counts. I Shan see him, somehow. If none of these 
schemes works. PU work out others. He's got to^e 

But it was no occult "bearing down "that led him 
to order her admitted the instant her card came H^ 

was the decent thmg. and somehow not difficult gently 
but clearly to convey to her the truth. On her sid^she 
who had looked forward to the interview witf^^' 

;~^T„:; otrH^haTr v-"^ 

had the. Cham, mv.ri.Wy fo„„d i„ . La„^,e hum." 



being with the many-sided intellect that gives light- 
ness of mind. Crpssley was not intellectual, not in the 
least. One had only to glance at hiip to see that he 
was one of those men who reserve all their intelligence 
for the practical sides of the practical thing that forms 
the basis of their material career. He knew something 
of many things, had a wonderful assortment of talents 
— could sing, could plaj piano or violin, could compose, 
could act, could do mystifying card tricks, could order 
women's clothes as discriminatingly as he could order 
his own — all these things a little, but nothing much 
except making a success of musical comedy and comic 
opera. He had an ambition, carefully restrained in a 
closet of his mind, where it could not issue forth and 
interfere with his business. This ambition was to be a 
giver of grand opera on a superb scale. He regarded 
himself as a mere money-maker — was not ashamed of 
this, but neither was he proud of it. His ambition then 
represented a dream of a rise to something more than 
business man, to friend and encourager and wet nurse 
to art. 

Mildred Gowter had happened to set his imagination 
to working. The discovery that she was one of those 
whose personalities rouse high expectations only to mock 
them had been a severe blow to his confidence in his own 
judgment. Though he pretended to believe, and had 
the habit of saying that he was " weak and soft," was 
always being misled by his good nature, he really be- 
lieved himself an unerring judge of human beings, and, 
as his success evidenced, he was not far wrong. Thus, 
though convinced that Mildred was « "false alarm," 


hi. secret vanity would not let him release his origi^ 
■dea He had the tenacity that is an important element 
in aU successes; and tenacity become a fixed habit has 
even been known to ruin in the end the very careers it 
has made. 

Said Mildred, in a manner which was astonishingly 
unemotional and businesslike : « I've not come to taftle 
and to whine, Mr. Crossley. I've hesitated about com- 
ing at all, partly because I've an-.nstinct it's useless, 
partly because what I have to say isn't easy." 

Crossley's expression hardened. The old story' — 
excuses, excuses, self-excuse - somebody else to blame. 
If It hadn't been for Mr. Ransdell-the trouble 
he took with me, the coaching he gave me -I'd have 
been a ridiculous failure at the very first rehearsal. But 
— It IS to Mr. Ransdell that my failure is due " 

« My dear Miss Gower," said Crossley, polite but 
cold, J. regret hearing you say that. The fact is 
very different. Not until you had done so-so unac- 
ceptably at several rehearsals that news of it reached 
me by another way -not until I myself went to Mr. 
Ransdell about you did he admit tha^ there could be a 
possibility of a doubt of your succe^ng. I had to go 
-to rehearsal myself and directly order him to restore 
Miss Esmond and lay you off." 

Mildred W8S not unprepared, She received this tran- 
quilly. « Mr. RansdeU i, a very clever man," said she 
with perfect good humor. " I've no hope of convincing 
you, but I must teU my side." 

'■ And clearly and simply, with no concealments through 

fear of disturbing his high ideal of her ladylike deli- 



cacy, Bhe told him the story. He liitened, seated well 
back in hi» tilted desk-chair, his g-ue upon the ceiling. 
When she finished he held his pose a moment, then got 
up and paced the length of the office several times, his 
hands in his pockets. He paused, looked keenly, at her, 
a good-humored smile in those eyes of his so fascinating 
to women because of their frank wavering of an incon- 
staacy it would indeed be a triumph to seize and hold. 

« And your bad throat? Did Ransdell give you a 

She colored. He had gone straight at the weak 
point. . 

" If you'd been able to sing," he went on, " nobody 
could have done you up." 

She could not gather herself together for speech. 
" Didn't you know your voice wasn't reliable when 
you came to me? " 
" Yes," she admitted. 

« And wasn't that the red reason you had jpven up 
grand opera? " pursued he mercilessly. 

« The reason was what I told you — lack of money," 
replied she. " I did not go into the reason why I lacked 
money. Why shotild I when, even on my worst days, 
I could get through all my part in a musical comedy — 
except songs that could be cut down or cut out? If I 
could have made good at acting, would you have given 
me up on account of my voice? " 

" Not if you had been good enough," he admitted. 
"Thefl I did not get my engagement on false pre- 

•44.' '■->■' 


" No. You are right. Still, your fall-down a< a 
singer is the important fact. Don't lose sight of it." 

" I shan't," said she tersely. 

His eyes were frankly laughing. "As to Ransdell 
— what a clever trick! He's a remarkable man. If 
he weren't so shrewd in those little ways, he might have 
been a great man. Same old story — just a little too 
smart, and so always doing the little thing and missing 
the big thing. Yes, he went gunning for you — and 
got you." He dropped into his chair. He thought a 
moment, laughed aloud, went on : " No doubt he has 
worked that same trick many a time. I've suspected it 
once or twice, but this time he fooled me. He got you. 
Miss Gowcr, and I caij do nothing. You must see that 
I can't look after details. And I can't give up as in- 
valuable a man as Ransdell. If I put you back, he'd 
put you out — would make the piece fail rather than let 
you succeed." 

Mildred was gazing somberly at the floor. 

" It's hard lines — devilish hard lines," he went on 
sympathetically. « But what can I do? » 

" What can I do? " said Mildred. 

" Do as all people do who succeed — meet the condi- 

" I'm not prepared to go as far as that, at least not 
yet," said she with bitter sarcasm. "Perhaps when 
I'm actually starving and in rags — " 
• ^^ "A very distressing future," interrupted Crossley. 
"But — I didn't make the world. Don't berate me. 
Be sensible — and be honest, Miss Gower, and te". me — 
how could I possibly protect you and continue to give 




«ucce»if ul shows ? If you can suggest any feasible way, 
I'll take it." 

« No, there isn't any way," replied she, rising to go. 
He rose to escort her to the hall door. " Personally, 
the RansdeU sort of thing is — distasteful to me. Pei^ 
haps if I were not so busy I might be forced by my own 
giddy misconduct to take less high ground. Tve ob- 
served that the best that can be said for human nature 
at its best is that it is as well behaved as its real tempta- 
tions permit. He was making you, you know. You've 
admitted it" 

" There's no doubt about that," said Mildred. 
" Mind you, I'm not excusing him. I'm simply ex- 
plaining him. If your voice h^d been aU right — if 
you could have stood to any degree the test he put you 
to, the test of standing alone — you'd have defeated 
him. He wouldn't have dared go on. He's too shrewd 
to think a real talent can be beaten." 

The strong lines, the latent chararter, in Mildred's 
face were so strongly in evidence that looking at her 
then no one would have thought of her beauty or even 
of her sex, but only of the force that resists all and over- 
comes all. " Yes — the voice," said she. ■• The voice." 
« If it's ever reliable, come to see me. Until then — " 
He put out his hand. When she gave him hers, he held 
it in a way that gavo her no impulse to draw back. 
" You know the conditions of success now. You must 
prepare to meet them. If you put yourself at the mercy 
of the Ransdells — or any other of the petty intriguers 
that beset every avenue of success — you must take tiie 
consequences, you must conciliate them as best you can. 


If you don't wi.h to b€ at their mercy, you must do 
your part." 

She nodded. He released her hand, opened the hall 
door. He said: ■ 

"Forgive my little lecture. But I like you, and I 
cant help having hope of you." He smiled charm- 
ingly, hi. keen, inconstant eyes dimming. « Perhaps I 
hope because you're young and extremely lovely and I 
«n pitifully susceptible. You see, you'd better go. 
Every man's a Hansdell at heart where pretty women 
are concerned." 

She did not leave the building. She went to the ele- 
vator and asked the boy where she could find Signor 
Moldini. His office was the big room on the third floor 
where voice candidates were usually tried out, three days 
in the week. At the moment he was engaged. Mildred, 
Mated m the tiny anteroom, heard through the glass 
door a girl singing, or trying to sing. It was a dis- 
tressing performance, and Mildred wondered that Mol- 
dmi could be so tolerant as to hear her through. He 
oame to the door with her, thanked her profusely, told 
her he would let her know whenever there was an open- 
ing suited to your talenU." As he observed Mildred, 
he was still sighing and shaking his head over the de- 
parted candidate. 

."Ugly and ignorant!" he groaned. "Poor crea- 
ture! Poor, poor creature. She makes three dollars a 

^ Z'l ' ^""^""^ ""^'^ ^^ " ^'"^ philanthropist. 
Three doUars a week. And she has no way to make a 
cent more. Miss Gower, they talk about the sad, 
naughty gu-ls who seU themselves in the street to piece 


i I 

i 1 



out their wage*. But think, dear young lady, how in- 
finitely better off they are than the ugly one. who can t 
piece out their wages." . ^ ^- ^ 

There he looked directly at her for the flr.t tune. 
Before .he could gra.p the tragic .adne.. of h.. idea, 
he, with the mobility of candid and highly 
nature., .hifted from melancholy to gay, for m lookmg 
at her he had caught only the charm of dres., of face, 
of arrangement of hair. "What a pleasure! he ex- 
claimed, bursting into smiles and seizing and k.ssmg her 
aloved hands. "Voice like a bird, face like an angel 
ionly not too good, no, not too good. But ,t .s so 
rare — to look as one sings, to sing as one looks. 

For once, compliment, sincere compliment from one 
whose opinion was worth while, gave Mildred pam. She 
burst out with her news: « Signor Moldm., I've lost 
„y place in the company. My voice has gone back 

""usually Moldini abounded in the consideration of fine 
natures that have suffered deeply from lack of consider- 
ation But he was so astounded that he could only stare 
stupidly at her, smoothing his long greasy hair with his 

thin brown hand. „ i. „ ,v- 

" It's all my fault; I don't take care of myself, she 
went on. " I don't take care of my health. At least, 
I hope that's it." 

" Hope ! " he said, suddenly angry. 

« Hope so, because if it isn't that, then I've no chance 
for a career," explained she. 

He looked at her feet, pointed an uncannily long 
forefinger at them. " The crossings and sidewalks are 


■luih — and jrou, • linger, without ovenhoe* ! Liuucr ' 
LuoMjr ! » ' ■ 

"Pve never worn overriioet," uud Mildred apolo- 
getically. '^ 

"Don't tell me! I wi.h not to heu-. It makes me 
— like madnew here." He struck his low .loping brow 
with hi. paha. "What vanity! That the feet may 
look weU to the passing stranger, no overshoes ! Rheu- 
matism, sore throat, colds, pneumonia. Is it not dis- 
gusting. If you were a man I should swear in all the 
iMguages I know — which are five, including Hunga- 
n«n, and when one swears in Hungarian it is • going 
some,' as you saj in America. Yes, it is going quite 

" I shall wear overshoes," said Mildred. 

" And indigestion — you have that? " 

"AlitUe, Iguess." 

"Much — much, I tell you!" cried Moldini, shaking 
the long finger at her. " You Americans ! You eat 
too fast and you eat too much. That is why you are 
always sick, and consulting the doctors who give the 
medicines that make worse, not better. Yes, you Ameri- 
cans are like children. You know nothing. Sing? 
Americans cannot sing until they learn that a stomach 
isn't a waste-basket, to toss everything into. You have 
been to that throat specialist, Hicks? " 

"Ah, yes," said Mild?ed brightening. "He said 
there was nothing organically wrong." 

"He is an ass, and a criminal. He ruins throats. 
He likes to cut, and he likes to spray. He sprays those 
poiams that reKeve colds and paralyze the throat and 


cordi. Americnw wng? It ii to laugh! They have 
too many doctort; they take too many pilb. Do you 
know what your national emblem ihould be? A doUar- 
f ign — yei. But that for all nationi. No, a pill — a 
pUl, I tell you. You take pUU? " 

" Now and then," laid Mildred, Uughing. " I admit 
I have Mveral kindi always on hand." 

"You see!" cried, he triumphantly. " No, it is not 
mere art that America needs, but more sense about eat- 
ing — and to keep away from the doctors. People full 
of pilB, they cannot make poems and pictures, and write 
operas and sing them. Throw away those pills, dear 
young lady, I implore you." 

"Signor Moldini, I've come to ask you to help 

me." . \ „ 

Instantly the Italian cleared his face of its half- 
humorous, half-querulous expression. In its place came 
a grave and courteous eagemeu to serve her that was a 
pleasure, even if it was not altogether sincere. And 
MUdred could not believe it sincere. Why should he 
care what became of her, or be willing to put himself 
out for her? 

"You told me one day that you had at one time 
taught singing," continued she. 

" Until I was starved out," replied he. " I told peo- 
ple the truth. If they could not sing I said so. If 
they sang badly I told them why, and it was always the 
upset stomach, the f ooUsh food, and people will not take 
care about food. They will eat what they please, and 
they say eating i» good for them, and that anyone who 
opposes them is a crank. So most of my pupils left, 


except thoae I taught for nothing — and they did not 
heed me, and came to nothing." 

" You (howed me in ten minute* one day how to cure 
my wont fault I've lung better, more naturally ever 

"You could ling like the birds. You iir> aMn*.: 
You could be taught to ling aa freely nW h'\< 'Iv und 
naturally as a flower gives perfume. ' >; i. ,';>'' > di- 
vine gift, young lady — song as pure ;>n i frc^^ h n 
bird's song raining down through tli- icuvc, ':>>. i iH' 

" I have no money. I've got to get iU ai. J 1 ttH<." 
get it," continued Mildred. " I want you t,- li.tch nic 
— at any hour that you are free. And I want to know 
how much you will charge, so that I shall know how 
much to get." 

" Two dollars a lesson. Or, if you take six lessons 
a week, ten dollars. Those were my terms. I could 
not take less." 

" It is too little," said Mildred. " The poorest kinds 
of teachers get five dollars an hour — and teach noth- 

" Two dollars, ten dollars* a week," replied he. " It 
is the most I ever could get. I will not lake more from 

" It is too little," said she. " But I'll not insist — 
for obvious reasons. Now, if you'll give me your home 
address, I'll go. When I get the money, I'll write to 


' But wait ! " cried he, as she rose to depart. " Why 
so hurried? Let ui see. Take off the wrap. Sttp be- 


hind the «=r.en and \^ your comt. P«Up. «»« 
you could take it off? " ,..,j_j u «„» T 

^ «Not without undressing." «id Midrd. But I 
en do that if it's nectary." She 'au^.^u^^ 
..From this time on I'U do anythmg that. nec«- 

'"«No.-never mind. The dress of woman -of 
your kind of women. It is not serious." He kugh«J 
S « As for the other kind, their ^s ..the only 
Sio,i thing about them. It is a mistake to thtnk that 
women who dress badly are serious M. ex^n^e ha. 
been that they are the most f ooUsh of aU. F«hion*le 
SSs-it is'part of a woman's tooU. It shows «»t 
1 is good at her business. The women who try to 
tsrurmen, they are good neither at men'. busuKU 
nor at women's." . 

This, while Mildred was behind the screen loosemng 
her corset -though, in fact, she wore it "<> ;>^** /^ 
times that she inconvenienced herself srmply to show her 
,mingness to do as she was told. When she came out^ 
MoS put her through a rigid physical ex»m«aU^ 
_„.ade her breathe while he held one hand on W 
stomach, the other on h« back, Ustened at her he«^ 
opened ;ide her throat and peered down ftrust h« W 
strong fingers deep into the muscles of her arms, her 
t^t herVt, unta she.h.d difflculty in not crymg 

out with pain. «Vou 

.. The foundation is there," was his verdict You 
have a good body, good muscles, but flabby - a lady s 
muscles, not an opera singer's. And you «- "^^ " 
not «, stiff a. when you first came here, but .tiff for a 


profeMional. Ah, we must go at this acientifleally, 

" Yon will teach me to Jbreathe — and how to produce 
my voice naturally? " 

•* I will teach you nothing," replied he. " I will tell 
yoa what to do, and you will teach yourself. Vou must 
get strong — strong in the supple way — and then you 
will sing as God intended. The way to sing, dear 
young lady, is to sing. Not to breathe artificially, and 
make faces, and fuss with your throat, but simply to. 
drop your mouth and throat open and let it out ! " 

Mildred produced from her hand-bag the Keith 
paper. " What do you think of that? " she asked. 

Presently he looked up from his reading. "This 
part I have seen before," said he. " It is Lucia Rivi's. 
Her cousin, Lotta Drusini, showed, it to me — she was 
a great singer also." 

" You approve of it? " 

" If you will follow that for two years, faithfully, 
you will be securely great, and then you will follow it 
all your singing life — and it will be long. But re- 
member, dear young lady, I said if you follow it, and 
I said faithfully. I do not believe you can." 

" Why not? " said Mildred. 

" Because that means self-denial, colossal self-denial. 
You love things to eat — yes? " 

Mildred nodded. 

" We all do," said Moldini. " And we hate routine, 
and we like foolish, aimless little pleasures of all kinds." 

"And it will be two years before I can try grand 
opera — can make my living?" said Mildred slowly. 


" I did not say that. I said, before you would be 
great. No, you can sing, I think, in — wait." 

Moldini flung rapidly through an enormous mass of 
music on a large table. " Ah, here ! " he cried, and he 
showed her a manuscript of scales. " Those two pa- 
pers. It does not look much? Well, I have made it 
up, myself. And when you can sing those two papers 
perfectly, you will be a greater singer than any that 
ever lived." He laughed delightedly. " Yes, it is all 
there — in two pages. But do not weep, dear lady, be- 
cause you will never sing them perfectly. You will do 
very well if — Always that if, remember! Now, let 
us see. Take this, sit in the chair, and begin. Don't 
bother about me. I expect nothing. Just do the best 
you can." 

Desperation, when it falls short of despair, is the 
best word for achievement. Mildred's voice, especially 
at the outset, was far from perfect condition. Her 
high notes, which had never been developed properly, 
were almost bad. But she acquitted herself admirably 
from the standpoint of showing what her possibilities 
were. And Moldini, unkempt, almost unclean, but as 
natural and simple and human a soul as ever paid the 
penalties of poverty and obscurity and friendlessness 
for being natural and simple and human, exactly suited 
her peculiar temperament. She knew that he liked her, 
that he believed in her ; she knew that he was as sympa- 
thetic toward her as her own self, that there was no 
meanness anywhere in him. So she sang like a bird — 
a bird that was not too well in soul or in body, but still 
a bird out in the sunshine, with the airs of spring cheer- 


ing his breast and its foliage gladdening his eyes. He 
kept her at it for nearly an hour. She saw that he 
was pleased, that he had thought out some plan and 
was bunting to tell her, but had forbidden himself to 
speak of it He said: 

"You say you have no money?" 
" No, but I shall get it." 
" You may have to pay high for it — yes? " 
She colored, but did not flinch. " At worst, it will be 
— unpleasant, but that's all." 

"Wait one — two days — until you hear from me. 
-I may — I do not say will, but may — get it. Yes, I 
who have nothing." He laughed gayly. " And we — 
you and I — we will divide the spoils." Gravely. "Do 
not misunderstand. That was my little joke. If I get 
the money for you it will be quite honorable and busi- 
nesslike. So — wait, dear young lady." 

As she was going, she could not resist saying: 
" You are nir^ I can sing? — if, of course — always 
the if." 

" It is not to be doubted." 
" How well, do you think? » 

"You mean how many dollars a night well? You 
mean as will as this great singer or that? I do not 
know. And you are not tft compare yourself with any- 
one but yourself. You will sing as well as Mildred 
Gower at her best." 

For some reason her blood went tingling through her 
veins. If she had dared she would have kissed him. 


That same afternoon Donald Keith, arrived at Ae 
top of Mrs. Belloc's steps, met Mildred coining out 
Seeing their greeting, one would have thought they had 
seen each other but a few minutes before or were casual 
acquaintances. Said she: 

" I'm going for a wilk." 

« Let's teke the taxi," said he. 

There it stood invitingly at the curb. She felt tired. 
She disliked walking. She wished to sit beside him and 
be whirled away — out of the noisy part of the city, up 
where the air was clean and where there were no crowds. 
But she had begun the regimen of Lucia Rivi. She 
hesitated. What matter if she began now or put off 
beginning until after this one last drive? 

" No, we will walk," said she. 

« But the streets are in frightful condition." 

She thrust out a foot covered with a new and shiny 

« Let's drive to the park thw. We'U walk there." 

"No. If I get into the taxi, I'll not get out Send 
it away." 

When they were moving afoot up Madison Avenue, 
he said: " What's the matter? This isn't like you." 

« I've come to my senses," replied she. " It may be 
too Ute, but I'm going to see." 



"When I called on Mn. Brindley the other day," 
said he, " ihe had your note, saying that you were go- 
ing into musical comedy with Crossley." 

" That's OTer," said she. " I lost my Toice, and I 
lost my job." 

"So I heard," said he. "I know Crossley. I 
dropped in to sec him this morning, and he told me 
about a foolish, fashionable girl who made a bluff at 
going on the stage — he said she had a good voice and 
was a swell looker, but proved to be a regular ' f our^ 
flusher.' I recognized yon." 
" Thanks," said she dryly. 
" So, I came to see you." 

She inquired about Mrs. Brindley and then about 
Stanley Baird. Finding that he was in Italy, she in- 
quired : "Do you happen to know his address?" 

" 111 get it and send it to you. He has taken a house 
at Monte Carlo for the winter." 
"And you?" 

«I shall stay here — I think." 
" You may join him? " 

" It depends " — he looked at her — " upon you." 
He could put a ^spnderful amount of meaning into a 
slight inflection. She struggled — not in vain — to 
keep from changing expression. 

" You realize now that the career is quite hopeless? " 
said he. 

She 'did not answer. 
" You do not like the stage life? " 
« No." 

« And the stage life does not like you? " 
e- 857 


" No." 

" Your voice lacki both itrength and ilabUitjr? " 

" Ye»." 

"And you have tvnmi the one way by wUch you 
could get on — and you don't like it? " 

*< Crowley told you? " said ikc, the cator flaring. 

" Your name wa« nat mentioned. You may not be- 
lieve it, bat CroMky i» a ger.tieman." 

She walked on in silence. 

" I did not expect your failure to come lo soon — or 
in quite that way," he went on. " I got Mrs. Brindey 
to exact a promise froip you that you'd let her know 
about yourself. I called on Mrs. Belloc one day when 
you were out, and gave her my confidence and got hers 
— and assured myself that you were in good hands, 
Crossley's tale gave me — a shock. I came at once." 

" Then you didn't abandon me to my fate, as I 
thought? " 

He smiled in his strange way. " I? — when I loved 
you? Hardly." 

" Then you did interest yourself in me because you 
cared — precisely as I said," laughed she. ^ 

" And I should have given you up if you had suc- 
ceeded — precisely as I said," replied he. 

" You wished me to fail? " 

" I wished you to fail. I did everything I could to 
help you to succeed. I even left you absolutely alone, 
set you in the right way — the only way in which any- 
one can win success." 

" Yes, you made me throw away the cru'-hes and try 
to walk." 



" It was hard to do that. Those strains are very 
wearing at my time of life." 

" You never were any younger, and you'll never be 
any older," laughed she. "That's your charm — one 
of them." 

"Mildred, do you still care?" 

"How did you know?" inquired she mockingly. 

" You didn't try to conceal it. I'd not have ventured 
to say and do the things I said and did if I hadn't felt 
that we cared for each other. But, so long as you were 
leading that fatuous life and dreaming those foolish 
dreams, I knew we could never be happy." 

" That is true — oh, to true," replied she. 

"But now — you have tried, and that has made a 
woman of you. And you have failed, and that has 
made you ready to be a wife — to be happy in the quiet, 
private ways." 

She was silent. 

" I can make enough for us both — as much as we 
will need or want — as much as you please, if you aren't 
too extravagant. And I can do it easily. It's making 
little sums — a small income — that's hard in this ridic- 
ulous world. Let's marry, go to California or Europe 
for several months, then come back here and live like 
human beings." 

She was silent. Block after block they walked along, 
as if neither had anything especial in mind, anything 
worth the trouble of speech. Finally he said: 


" I can't answer — yet," said she. " Not to-day — 
not till I've thought." 




She glanced quickly at him. Over his impaMive face, 
so beautifully r< >^Iar and, to her, so fascinating, there 
passed a quick dark shadow, and she knew that he was 
suffering. He laughed quietly, his old careless, indiffer- 
ent laugh. 

"Oh, yes, you can t&rat," said he. "You have 

She drew in her breath ah. .,ry. 

" You have refused." — 

" Why do you say that, i)onald? " she pleaded. 

" To hesitate over a proposal is to refuse," said he 
with gentle raillery. "A man is a fool who does not 
understand and sheer off when a woman asks for time." 

" You know that I love you," she cried. 

* I also know that you love something else more. 
But it's finished. Let's talk about something else." 

" Won't you let me tell you why I hesitate? " begged 

" It doesn't matter." 

" But it does. Yes, I do refuse, Donald. I'll never 
marry you until I am independent. You said a while 
ago that what I've been through hod made a woman of 
me. Not yet. I'm only beginning. I'm still weak — 
still a coward. DonaM, I asust and will be free." 

He looked full at her, with a strange smile in his bril- 
liant eyes. Said he, witii obvious intent to change the 
subject: "Mrs. Brindley's very unhappy that you 
haven't been to see her." 

" When you asked me to marry you, the only reason 
I almost accepted was because I want someone to sup- 
port me. I love you — yes. But it is as one loves 


before one hai given oneself and hai lived the same 
life with another. In the ordinary lenie, it'i love that 
I fed. But — do you understand me, dearest? — in 
another sense, it's only the hope of love, the belief that 
love will come." 

He stoppedehort and looked at her, his eyes alive with 
the stimulus of a new and startling idea. 

" If you and I had been everything to each other, 
and you were saying ' Let us go on living the one life ' 
and I were hesitati-sf, then you'd be right. And I 
couldn't hesitate, Donald. If you were mine, nothing 
could make me give you up, but when it's only the hope 
of having you, then pride and self-respect have a chance 
to be heard." 

He was ready to move on. " There's something in 
that," said he, lapsed into his usual seeming of impas- 
sivenese. "But not much." 

" I never before knew you to fail to understand." 

" I understand perfectly. You care, but you don't 
care enough to suit me. I haven't waited all these years 
before giving a woman my love, to be content with a 
love seated quietly and demurely between pride and self- 

"Vou wouldn't marry me until I had failed," said 
she shrewdly. "Now you attack me for refusing to 
marry you until I've succeeded." 

A slight shrug. "Proposal withdrawn," said he. 
" Now let's talk about your career, your plans." 

" I'm beginning to understand myself a little," said 
she. " I suppose you think that sort of personal talk 
is very silly and vain — and trivial." 


" On the contrary," replied he, " it iin't absolutely 
neceuary to undentand oneMlf. One i* iwept on in 
the same general direction, anyhow. But understand- 
ing helps one to go faster and steadier." 

" It began, away back, when I was a girl — this idea 
of a career. I envied men and despised women, the 
sort of women I knew and met with. I didn't realize 
why, then. But it was because a man had a chance to 
be somebody in himself and to do something, wnile a 
woman was just a — a more or less ornamental be- 
longing of some m«Mi's — what you want me to become 

" As far as possible from my idea." 
" Don't you want me to belong to you? " 
" As I belcng to you." 

" That sounds well, but it isn't what could happen. 
The fact is, Donald, that I want to belong to you — 
want to be owned by you and to lose myself in you. 
And it's that I'm fighting." 

She felt the look he was bending upon her, and 
glowed and colored under it, but did not dare to turn 
her eyes to meet it. Said he: " Why fight it? Why 
not be happy?" 

"Ah, but that's just it," cried she. "I shouldn't 
be happy. And I should n.ake you miserable. The 
idea of a career — the idea that's rooted deep in me 
and can't ever be got out, Donald; it weald torment 
me. You couldn't kill it, no matter how much you 
loved me. I'd yield for the timo. Then, I'd go back — 
or, if I didn't, I'd be wretched and make you wish you'd 
never seen me." 



" I undcntand," taid he. " I don't believe it, but I 

" You think I'm deceiving myMlf, beeauie you mw me 
wasting my life, playing the idler and the fool, pre- 
tending I was working toward a career when I wai 
really making myaelf fit for nothing but to be Stanley 
Baird'i mistrcM." 

" And you're still deceiving yourself. You won't see 
the truth." 

" No matter," said she. " I must go on and make a 
career — some kind of a career." 

« At what? " 

" At grand opera." 

" How'll you get the money? " 

•• Of Stanley, if necessary. That's why I asked his 
address. I shan't ask for much. He'll not refuse." 

"A few minutes ago you were talking of self-re- 

"As something I hoped to get. It comes with in- 
dependence. I'll pay any price to get it." 

" Any price? " said he, and never before had she seen 
his self-control in danger. 

"I shan't ask Stanley until my other plans have 

"What other plans?" 

" I am going to ask Mrs. Belloc for the money. She 
could a£Pord to give — to lend — the little I'd want. 
I'm going to ask her in such a way that it will be as 
hard as possible for her to refuse. That isn't ladylike, 
but — I've dropped out of the lady class." 

" And if she refuses? " 


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"Then I'll go one after another to several very 
rich men I know, and ask them as a business propo- 

" Go in person," advised he with an undisguised sneer, 

" I'll raise no false hopes in them," she said. " If 
they choose to delude themselves, I'll not go out of my 
way to undeceive them — until I have to." 

" So thit is Mildred Gower? " 

" You made that remark before." 


" When Stanley showed you a certain photograph of 

" I remember. This is the same woman." 

" It's me," laughed she. " The real me. You'd not 
care to be married to her? " 

" No," said he. Then, after a brief silence: " Yet, 
curiously, it was that woman with whom I fell in love. 
No, not exactly in love, for I've been thinking about 
what you said as to the difference between love in poise 
and love in eue, to put it scientifically — between love 
as a prospect and love as a reality." 

"And I was right," said she. "It explains why 
marriages go to pieces and affairs come to grief. Those 
lovers mistook love's promise to come for fulfillment. 
Love doesn't die. It simply fails to come — doesn't 
redeem its promise." 

" That's the way it might be with us," said he. 

" That's the way it would be with us," rejoined she. 

He did not answer. When they spoke again it was 
of indifferent matters. An hour and a half after they 
started, they were at Mrs. Belloe's again. She asked 


him to have tea in the restaurant next door. He de- 
clined. He went up the steps with her, said: 

" Well, I wish you luck. iMoldini is the best teacher 
in America." 

" How did you know Moldini was to teach me? " ex- 
claimed she. 

He smiled, put out his hand in farewell. " Crossley 
told me. Good-by.» 

" He told Crossley ! I wonder why." She wus so 
interested in this new phase that she did not see his 
outstretched hand, or the look of bitter irony that came 
into his eyes at this proof of the subordinate place love 
and he had in her thoughts. 

" I'm nervous and anxious," she said apologetically. 
" Moldini told me he had some scheme about getting 
the money. If he only could! But no such luck for 
me," she added sadly. 

Keith hesitated, debated with himself, said: "You 
needn't worry. Moldini got it — from Crossley, 
Fifty dollars a week for a year." 

" You got Crossley to do it? " 

" No. He had done it before I saw him. He had 
just promised Moldini and was cursing himself as ' weak 
and soft.' But that means nothing. You may be sure 
he did it because Moldini convinced him it was a good 

She was radiant. She had not vanity enough where 
he was concerned to believe that he deeply cared, that her 
joy would give him pain because it meant forgetful- 
ness of him. Nor was she much impressed by the ex- 
pression of his eyes. And even as she hurt him, she 



made him love her the more; for he appreciated how 
rare was the woman who, in such circumstances, does 
not feed her vanity with pity for the poor man suffer- 
ing so horribly because he is not to get her precious 
self. , 

It flashed upon her why he had not offered to help 
her. " There isn't anybody like you," said she, with no 
explanation of her apparent irrelevancy. 

" Don't let Moldini see that you know," said he, with 
characteristic fine thoughtfulness for others in the midst 
of his own unhappiness. " It would deprive him of a 
great pleasure." 

He was about to go. Suddenly her eyes filled and, 
opening the outer door, she drew him in. " Donald," she 
said, " I love you. Take me in your arms and make 
me behave." 

He looked past her; his arms hung at his sides. Said 
he: " And to-night I'd get a note by messenger saying 
that you had taken it all back. No, the girl in the 
photograph — that was you. She wasn't made to be my 
wife. Or I to be her husband. I love you because 
you are what you are. I should not love you if you 
were the ordinary woman, the sort who marries and 
merges. But I'm old enough to spare myself — and 
you — the consequences of what it would mean if we 
were anything but strangers to each other." 

" Yes, you must keep away — ■ altogether. If you 
didn't, I'd be neither the one thing nor the other, but 
just a poor failure." 

" You'll not fail," said he. « I know it. It's writ- 
ten in your face." He looked at her. She was not 


looking at him, but with eyes gating straight ahead 
was revealing that latent, inexplicable power which, 
when it appeared at the surface, so strongly dominated 
and subordinated her beauty and her sex. He shut his 
teeth together hard and glanced away. 

"You will not fail," he repeated bitterly. "And 
that's the worst of it." 

JVithout another word, without a handshake, he went. 
And she knew that, except by chance, he would never 
see her again — or she him. 

Moldini, disheveled and hysterical with delight and 
suspense, was in the drawing-room — had been there 
half an hour. At first she could hare :'orce her mind 
to listen ; but as he talked on and on, he captured her 
attention and held it. 

The next day she began with Moldini, and put the 
Lucia Hivi system into force in all its more than con- 
ventual rigors. And for about a month she worked 
like a devouring flame. Never had there been such 
energy, «uch enthusiasm. Mrs. Belloc was alarmed for 
her health, but the Rivi system took care of that ; and 
presently Mrs. Belloc was moved to say, " Well, I've 
often heard that hard work never harmed anyone, but 
I never believed it. Now I know the truth." 

Then Mildred went to Hanging Rock to spend Satur- 
day to Monday with her mother. Presbury, reduced 
now by various infirmities — by absolute deafness, by 
dimness of sight, by difficulty in walking — to where 
eating was his sole remaining pleasure, or, indeed, dis- 
traction, spent all his time in concocting dishes for him- 


self. Mildred could not resist — and who can when 
seated at table with the dish before one's eyes and under 
one's nose. The Rivi regimen was suspended for the 
visit. Mildred, back in New York' and at work again, 
found that she was apparently none the worse for her 
holiday, was in fact better. So she drifted into the 
way of suspending the regimen for- an evening now 
and then — when she dined with Mrs. Brindley, or when 
Agnes Belloc had something particularly good. All 
went well for a time. Then — a cold. She neglected 
it, feeling sure it coul^ not stay with one so soundly 
healthy through and through. But it did stay; it 
grew worse. She decided that she ought to take medi- 
cine for it. True, starvation was the cure prescribed 
by the regimen, but Mildred could not bring herself to 
two or three days of di.-^comfort. Also, many people 
told her that such a cure was foolish and even danger- 
ous. The cold got better, got '-orse, got better. But 
her throat became queer, and at last her voice left her. 
She was ashamed to go to Moldini in such a condition. 
She dropped in upon Hicks, the throat specialist. He 
" fixed her up " beautifully with a few sprayings. A 
week — and her voice left her again, and Hicks could 
not' bring it back. As she left his office, it was raining 
— an icy, dreary drizzle. She splashed her way home, 
in about the lowest spirits she had ever known. She 
locked her door and seated herself at the window and 
stared out, while the storm raged within her. After 
an hour or two she wrote and sent Moldini a note: 
" I have been making a fool of myself. I'll not come 
again until I am all right. Be patient with me. I 



don't think this will occur again." She first wrote 
" happen." Shf matched it out and put " occur " in 
its place. Not vt Moldini would have noted the slip; 
simply that sLi. xould not permit herself the satisfac- 
tion of the false and self-excusing " happen." It had 
not been a "happen." It had been a delibente folly, 
a lapse to the Mildred she had buried the day she 
sent Donald Keith away. When the note was on its 
way, she threw out all her medicines, and broke the 
new spraying apparatus Hicks had instructed her to 

She went back to the Rivi regime. A week passed, 
and she was little better. Two weeks, and she began 
to mend. But it was six weeks before the last traces of 
her folly disappeared. Moldini said not a word, gave 
no sign. Once more her life went on in uneventful, 
unbroken routine — diet, exercise, singing — singing, 
exercise, diet — no distractions except an occasional 
visit to the opera with Moldini, and she was hating 
opera now. All her enthusiasm was gone. She simply 
worked doggedly, drudged, slaved. 

When the days began to grow warm, Mrs. Belloc said : 
" I suppose you'll soon be off to the country? Are you 
going to visit Mrs. Brindley? " 

'! No," said Mildred. 

" Then come with me." 

« Thank you, but I can't do it." 

" But you've got to rest somewhere." 

"Rest?" said Mildred. « Why should I rest? " 

Mrs. Belloc started to protest, then abruptly 
changed. " Come to think of it, why should you? 


You're in perfect health, and it'll be time enough to rest 
when you ' get there.' " 

" I'm tired through and through," said Mildred, 
" but it isn't the kind of tired that could be rested ex- 
cept by throwing up this frightful nightmare of a 

" And you can't do that." 

" I won't," said Mildred, her lips compressed and her 
eyes narrowed. 

She and Moldini — and fat, funny little Mrs, Moldini 
— wei.t to the mountains. And she worked on. She 
would listen to none of the suggestions about the dan- 
gers of keeping too steadily at it, about working one- 
self into a state of stateness, about the imperative 
demands of the artistic temperament for rest, change, 
variety. " It may be so," she said to Mrs. Brindley. 
" But I've gone mad. I can no more drop this routine 
than — than you could take it up and keep to it for a 

"I'll admit I couldn't," said Cyrilla. "And Mil- 
dred, you're making a mistake." 

" Then I'll have to suffer for it. I must do what 
seems best to me." 

" But I'm sure you're wrong. I never knew anyone 
to act as you're acting. Everyone rests and freshens 

Mildred lost patience, almost lost her temper. 
" You're trying to tempt me to ruin myself," she said. 
" Please stop it. You say you never knew anyone to 
do as I'm doing. Very well. But how many girls 
have you known who have succeeded? " 


Cyrilla hesitatingly confessed that she had known 

" Yet you've known scores who've tried." 

" But they didn't fail because they did.i't work enough. 
Many of them worked too much." 

Mildred laughed. "How do you know why they 
failed? " said she. " You haven't thought about it as 
I have. You haven't lived it. Cyrilla, I served my 
apprenticeship at listening to nonsense iibout careers. 
I want to have nothing to do with inspiration, and ar- 
tistic temperament, and spontaneous genius, and all 
the rest of the lies. Moldini and I know what we are 
about. So I'm living as those who have succeeded lived 
and not as those r'ho have failed." 

Cyrilla was silenced, but not convinced. The amaz- 
ing improvement in Mildred's health, the splendid slim 
strength and suppleness of her body, the new and stable 
glories of her voice — all these she knew about, but they 
did not convince her. She believed in work, in hard 
work, but to her work meant the music itself. She felt 
that the Rivi system and the dirty, obscure little Mol- 
dini between them were destro,'ing Mildred by destroy- 
ing all " temperament " in her. 

It was the old, old criticism of talent upon genius. 
Genius has always won in its own time and generation 
all the world except talent. To talent contempora- 
neous genius, genius seen at its patient, plodding toll, 
seems coarse and obvious and lacking altogether in 
inspiration. Talent cannot comprehend that creation 
is necessarily in travail and in all manner of unlove- 



Mildred toiled on like a slave under the la«b, Mid- 
Moldini and the Rivi lystem were her twin relentleaa 
driven. She learned to rule herself with an iron hand. 
She discovered the full measure of her own deficiencies, 
and she determined to make herself a competent lyric 
soprano, perhaps something of a -dramatic soprano. 
She dismissed from her mind all the " high " thoughU, 
all the dreams wherewith the little people, even the 
Lttle people who achieve a certain success, beguile the 
tedium of their journey along the hard road. She was - 
not working to "interpret the thought of the great 
master " or to " advance the singing art yet higher " or 
even to win fame and applause. She had one object 
— to earn her living on the grand opera stage, and 
to earn it as a prima donna because that meant the best 
living. She frankly told Cyrilla that this was her ob-' 
ject, when Cyrilla forced her one day to talk about her 
aims. Cyrilla looked pained, broke a melancholy silence 
to say: 

"I know you don't mean that. You are too in- 
telligent. You sing too well." 

"Yes, I mean just that," said Mildred. "A Ut- 


" At any rate, don't say it. You give such a false 

" To whom? Not to Crossley, and not to Moldini, 
and why should I care what any others think? They 
are not paying my expenses. And regardless of what 
they think now, they'll be at my feet if I succeed, and 
they'll put me under theirs if I don't." 

" How hard you have grown," cried Cyrilla. 


" How aenaible, you mean. I'v» merely stopped be- 
ing a *elf-deceiver •\nd a gentimentaliat." 

" Believe me, my (ear, you are lacriflcing your char- 
acter to your ambiuon." 

" I never had any real character until ambition came," 
replied Mildred. "The soft, vacillating, sweet and 
weak thing I used to have wasn't character." 

" But, dear, you can't think it superior character to 
center one's whole life about a sordid ambition." 


" Merely to make a livinf,." 

Mildred laughed merrily and mockingly. " You call 
that sordid? Then for heaven's sake what is high? 
You had left you money enough to live on, if you have 
to. No one left me an income. So, I'm fighting for 
independence — and that means for self-respect. Is 
self-respect sordid, Cyrilla ! " 

And then Cyrilla understood — in part, not alto- 
gether. She lived in the ordinary environment of flap- 
doodle and sweet hypocrisy and sentimentality; and 
none such can more than vaguely glimpse the reali- 

Toward the end of the summer Moldini said : 

" It's over. You have won." 

Mildred looked at him in puzzled surprise. 

" You ht' ? learned it tU. You will succeed. The 
rest is detail." 

" But I've learned nothing as yet," protested she. 

" You have learned to teach yourself," replied the 
Italian. " You at lasi. can hear yourself sing, and you 
know when you sing right and when you sing wrong, 


Biid jrou know how to ging right. The rut ii easy. 
Ah, my dear Mis* Gowcr, you will work ncwl " 

Mildred did not understand. She wai even daunted by 
that " You will work notcl " She had been thinking 
that to work harder wa$ impoaiible. What did he ex- 
pect of her? Something ihe feared ahe could not realize. 
But aoon ahe understood — when he gave her aongs, 
then began to teach her a r61e, the part of Madame 
Butterfly herself. " I can help you only a little there," 
he said. " You will have to go to my friend Ferreri 
for r61cs. But we can jnake a beginning." 

She had indeed won. She had passed from the stage 
where a career is all drudgery — the stage through 
which only the strong can pass without giving up and 
accepting failure or small success. She had passed 
to the stage where there is added pleasure to the drudg- 
ery, for, the drudgery never ceases. And what was the 
pleasure? Why, more work — always work — bring- 
ing into use not merely the routine parts of the mind, 
but also the imaginative and creative faculties. She 
had learned her trade — not well enough, for no su- 
perior man or woman ever feels that he or she knows 
the trade well enough — but well enough to begin to use 

Said Moldini : " When the great one, who has 
achieved and arrived, is asked for advice by the sweet, 
enthusiastic young beginner, what is the answer? Al- 
ways the same : * My dear child, don't ! Go back 
home, and marry and have babies.' You know why 
now? " 

And Mildred, looking back over the dreary drudgery 


that }iad been, and looking forward to the drudgery 
yet to come, dreary enough for all the proapecta of a 
few flowert and a little aun — Mildred said: "Indeed 
I do, maeitro." 

" They think it meana what you Americana call mor- 
»1» — M if that were all of morality ! But it doesn't 
mean morala; not at all. Sex and the game of aex ia 
all through life everywhere — in the home no less than 
in the theater. In town and country, indoora and out, 
aunlight, moonlight, and rain — alwaya it goes on. 
A..d the temptations and the atrugglea a -c no more and 
no leas on the atage than oiT. No, there ia too much 
talk about 'morala.' The -eaaon the greot one says 
•don't' ia the work." > shook his head aadly. 
" They do not realize, thoae eager young beginners. 
They read the atory-booka and the lives of the great 
aucceaaea and they hear the foolish chat ' of common- 
place peoplfe — thoae imbecile 'culture! people who 
know nothing! And they think a career ia a triumphal 
march. What think you, Miaa Gower — eh? " 

" If I had known I'd not have had the courage, or 
the vanity, to begin," aaid ahe. " And if I could re- 
olize what's before me, I probably shouldn't have the 
courage to go on." 

" But why ribt? Haven't you also learned that it's 
just the day's work, doing every day the best you can? " 

" Oh, I shall go on," rejoined she. 

" Yes," said he, looking at her with awed admira- 
tion. " It is in your face. I saw it there, the day you 
came — after you sang the ' Batti Batti ' the first time 
and failed." 



" There was nothing to me then." 

" The seed," replied he. « And I saw it was an acorn, 
not the seed of one of those weak plants that spring 
up overnight and wither at noon. Yes, you will win." 
He laughed gayly, rolled his eyes and kissed his flngen. 
" And then you can afford to take a little holiday, and 
fall in love. Love! Ah, it is a joyous pastime — 
for a holiday. Only for a holiday, mind you. I shall 
be there and I shall seize you and take you back to your 

In the following winter and summer Crossley dis- 
ilosed why he had been sufficiently interested in grand 
opera to begin to back undeveloped voices. Crossley 
was one of those men who are never so practical as 
when they profess to be, and fancy themselves, imprac- 
tical. He became a grand-opera manager and organ- 
ized for a season that would surpass in interest any 
New York had known. Thus it came about that on a 
March night Mildred made her d^but. 

The opera was "Faust." As the three principal 
men singers were all expensive — the tenor alone, 
twelve hundred a night — Crossley put in a compara- 
tively modestly salaried Marguerite. She was seized 
with a cold at the last moment, and Crossley ventured to 
substitute Mildred Gower. The Rivi system was still in 
force. She was ready — indeed, she was always ready, 
as Hivi herself had been. And within ten minutes of 
her coming forth from the wings, Mildred Gower had 
leaped from obscurity into fame. It happens so, often 
in the story books, the newly gloriously arrived one 


having been wholly unprepared, achieving by sheer force 
of genius. It occurs so, occasionally, in life — never 
when there is lack of preparation, never by force of 
unassisted genius, never by accident. Mildred suc- 
ceeded because she had got ready to succeed. How could 
she have failed? 

Perhaps you read the stories in the newspapers — 
how she had discovered herself possessed of a marvelous 
voice, how she had decided to use it in public, how 
she had coached for a part, had appeared, had become 
one of the world^s few hundred great singers all in a 
single act of an opera. You read nothing about what 
she went through in developing a hopelessly uncertain 
and far from strong voice into one which, while not 
nearly so pood as thousands of voices that are tried 
and cast aside, yet sufficed, with her will and her con- 
centration back of it, to carry her to fame — and 

That birdlike voice! So sweet and spontaneous, s* 
true, so like the bird that « sings of summer in full 
throated ease!" No wonder the audience welcomed it 
with cheers on cheers. Greater voices they had heard, 
but none more natural — and that was Moldini. 

He came to her dressing-room at the intermission. 
He stretched out his arms, but emotion overcame him, 
and he dropped to a chair and sobbed and cried and 
laughed. She came and put her arms round him and 
kissed him. She was almost cahn. The great fear had 
seized her — Can I keep what I have won? 

« I am a fool," cried Moldini. « I wiU agitate you." 
"Don't be afraid of that," said she. « I am ii*rv- 


ous, yes, horribly nervous. Bufc you have taught me 
so that I could sing, no matter what was happening." 
K was true. And her body was like iron to the 

He looked at her, and though he knew her and had 
seen her train herself and had helped in it, he marveled. 
"You are happy?" he said eagerly. "Surely — yes, 
you must be happy." 

" More than that," answered she. " You'll have to 
find another word than happiness — something bigger 
and stronger and deepicr." 

" Now you can have your holiday," laughed he. 
" But " — with mock sternness — " in moderation ! He 
must be an incident only. With those who win the high 
places, sex is an incident — a charming, necessary in- 
cident, but only an incident. He must not spoil your 
career. If you allowed that you would be like a mother 
who deserts her children for a lover. He must not . 
touch your career! " 

Mildred, giving the last touches to her costume before 
the glass, glanced merrily at Moldini by way of it. 
" If he did touch it," said she, " how long do you think 
he would last with me? " 

Moldini paused half-way in his nod of approval, was 
stricken with silence and sadness. It would have been 
natural and proper for a man thus to put sex beneath 
the career. It was necessary for anyone who devel- 
oped the strong character that compels success and 
holds it. But — The Italian could not get away from 
tradition; woman was made for the pleasure of one 
man, not for herself and the world. 


"You don't like that, maettrof " said she, still ob- 
serving him in the glass. 

" No man would," said he, with returning cheerful- 
ness. " It hurts man's vanity. And no woman would, 
either; you rebuke their laziness and their dependence ! " 

She laughed md rushed away to fresh triumphs.